Bugs n' Botswana

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Oct 22nd, 2013, 01:04 PM
  #1
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Bugs n' Botswana

As we continue to refine plans for a Green Season trip to Botswana with the myriad details involved, I wanted to check with fellow travelers on a couple of flying critter questions.

It is my understanding from a local safari agent that tsetse flies have been “almost eradicated” in Botswana (and therefore the standard injunction against blue/dark clothing has been negated in addition to the medical issues). Anyone have personal experience with whether the tsetses still are flying? (If so, are some areas more prone to their presence?)

From another source, I heard that these days mosquitoes are not much of a problem either. Before I shout Hallelujah---and yes, I’m planning on using malaria prophylaxis as long as the CDC advises such a regimen---but was curious as to how much over-the-counter stuff to include in the limited luggage weight.

On a related mozzie topic, I have never experienced the spraying of clothes with insect repellent as I have seen reported---is this a daily event (since washing would seemingly render it useless)?

Any bug-related advice would be welcome.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 02:17 PM
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I was in the Okavango delta 2 years ago (several camps) - got many many mosquito bites on exposed skin. I'm embarrassed to say I did not use any mosquito repellent (but I was taking Malarone!). No tsetse flies at all.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:55 PM
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Hi OregonMaiden
Even though a long time since i have been to Botswana and I was there in mid winter, mozzies were everywhere in the Delta area so I would be taking a small container of personnel insect spray and I have in the past soaked clothes in pyretheum and didn't really notice much difference. I would be spraying clothes daily so that i avoid spraying too much on my skin, but splash a bit on skin as well!
Kind regards
Kaye
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 01:48 AM
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There aren't any tsetses. I've found mossies variable- in some areas, there's no problem but in other areas I've got bitten.

All the fixed camps I've stayed in provide cans of insect repellant in the rooms, and there are usually cans around in the main areas in case you come to dinner and have forgotten to spray (usually ask at the bar). So there's no need to turn up with an arsenal of your own products.
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 10:36 AM
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Can't comment on tse-tses, but I'd still avoid blue/black as they'd show all the dirt/dust encountered when on safari.

Malaria - mossies some places, not others - regardless they fly. Cover up from dusk to dawn with long pants/sleeves, socks and repellent on exposed skin except face and back of neck. Wash off before retiring to sleep.

Most rooms have a can of Doom or some other, that you can spray your room/tent before going out to dinner (not over your bed linens though). But for sure you wouldn't find me soaking cloths in any poison, rather instead maybe spray some of what you brought or the room product, over your cloths.
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 05:24 PM
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The "Doom" brand made me smile...thanks for the input and advice. Since most of my current travel wear is indeed back. I may stick in a pair of slacks for dinner just to get out of khaki, green and beige
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Oct 24th, 2013, 09:02 AM
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I do likewise, always pack a pair of dark slacks to wear with a smart shirt/sweater and some funky (cheap) jewelry or a great scarf, and coverup with a pashmina for dinner. Even include a pair of ballerina slippers... overall makes me feel like a human and love being out of safari tan for a few hours.
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Dec 7th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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Just back from 22 days in Botswana - Okavanga Delta green season. Had no problem with tsetse flies. There are some flies, some are big like horse flies, but its very few. Mossies were not a problem. I didn't get bitten even once and I don't wear spray or worry about covering up from dusk to dawn. Of course, we weren't camping in the grass either. I guess your camp arrangment will make some difference. I did, however, get hit by a "blister beetle" one night. I woke up the next morning with a huge (3") blister on the back of my neck. It opened later in the day while I as showering and remained as a not too serious wound for several days after. Luckily we had antibiotic creme along. They are attracked to the light at night, so don't sit near a light sourse outside. Many of the camps like to have outdoor campfire dining. That's when I got hit.

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/Creatures/...er_beetles.htm

As for dressing for dinner.....we never had any time in the Wilderness Safari camps. Our drives would return to camp just in time for dinner at 8:00. After dark, all the camps require someone to walk you to your tent and walk you back. Not wanting to have a guide walk out and then return to fetch us in 10 minutes, everyone just dined in whatever they wore on the final drive of the day. I took a pair of linen slacks, a linen shirt, a pashmina and some flats .....never worn them. Also never put on the necklace or cute earrings that I brought along.

I also noticed that in Botswana khaki or beige is the most common color. Much more so than green. In the WS camps, guests really take their safari dress to heart. Everyone seemed to have purchased their entire wardrobe at "The Safari Store" in London. They all wore boots like they were actually going to get out of those vehicles and march through the bush. I felt very casual, although much more comfortable in the 105 degree heat, in my capris, sleeveless tops and Chaco sandals. Absolutely take a windbreaker and scarf for the morning drives. It is cold at that time of day.
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Dec 7th, 2013, 12:32 PM
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Hi TC,
Very helpful...thanks. Wish I looked better in beige ;-)

(Blister beetles?? Yikes!)
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Dec 7th, 2013, 02:34 PM
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OregonMaiden: agree about beige...not my favorite or most flattering color! I bought a few t-shirts in browns, muted greens, & tans for our first safari thinking I'd never wear them again. Happily I'm packing for safari #3 so they've gotten more use than I ever thought they would've

If you're with other people on game drives you'll find some pay attention to recommendations and some don't give it a thought - the colors cover the spectrum. And heavy perfume. Loudly ringing cell phones. High heels! Not kidding. Oh well, it didn't impact my wonderful time so to each his own I guess.

Sorry, went off the bug topic completely. We weren't in Botswana in green season - didn't have any bugs.
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Dec 8th, 2013, 03:54 AM
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I was just in 2 camps in South Africa, and both there and in Botswana (last time), I noticed that some of the more experienced safari goers (including a private guide who was traveling with a guest and who had worked for years at a ranger in Sabi Sands) wore blue jeans and regular t-shirts, with baseball caps, no less, while all of the first-timers were kitted out from Ex Officio or the like.

I never had time to change for dinner after a game drive.
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Dec 8th, 2013, 08:30 AM
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Hmmm...good news about the clothing.

I well remember on our trip to Kenya eons ago, all dinner conversation at a lodge stopped when one rather impressive looking woman entered in FULL safari garb with things hanging/clanging from her multitude of pockets. Most fascinating was the fact that she wore her pith helmet at night
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Dec 8th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Pith helmet! Crikey....
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Dec 13th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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OregonMaiden, I don't know if we discussed this when we spoke, or not. There are supposedly no tsetses left in Botswana, but at one of the camps in the Linyati area, they said that Namibia hadn't eradicated tsetses in the Caprivi Strip. So, they would occasionally see a stray tsetse that crossed the river. TC, is that "you"? Your blister beetle story sounds rather familiar. That happened to a couple of folks I rode with at Chitabe Lediba last month.
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Dec 13th, 2013, 01:11 PM
  #15
TC
 
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Yep...its me. Black eye...blister beetle...a walking accident. Hey did you see the elephant encounter I posted on ST? Almost added elephant stampede to the list.

Cheers,
TC (aka SimplyRed)
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Dec 14th, 2013, 08:15 AM
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Not yet! I'll look for it.
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Dec 15th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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Travel can be w-a-y more exciting than most travelers hope

(ShayTay...fortunately no Caprivi strip during our Namibia jaunt.)
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Dec 18th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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No Caprivi Strip, but perhaps a camp across the river in the Linyati area? I think you had at least one on your itinerary. Still, I don't think you'll encounter any tsetses there, but there is just a remote possibility according to the camps we stayed at in that area.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Hi ShayTay,
Guess I'll avoid their color preferences...do any of the insect repellants help (I can hardly wait to try "Doom" ;-)

(P.S. Eric at San Diego Tie Dye and I have been in contact...saw your very cool wild dog T-shirt on their Facebook page. Enjoy Newport!)
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Dec 26th, 2013, 03:51 PM
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The camps usually provide "Peaceful Sleep" to use on your body and "Doom" for the room. Glad to hear you've been in contact with Eric. His safari "tie dye" shirts are great! I especially like the "tire tracks" shirt, but have several others.
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