Dust Mask

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Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:28 AM
  #1
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Dust Mask

Going to Tanzania northern safari circuit August 23-September 5. I know it's really dry and dusty there that time of year.

I was thinking of purchasing this dust mask from Magellan's: http://www.magellans.com/store/Healt...ersIF295?Args=

Is this overkill or would a simple bandanna over my face be sufficient?
mrscherry2000 is offline  
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 06:20 AM
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Overkill. Bandana should do! Or a $1 painters mask from local hardware/paint store!
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 06:39 AM
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Instead of a dust mask which isn't necessary I would rather play safe and bring a mosquito headnet to protect against Tsetse Flies which can be really annoying.

The dust protection is fine - but only for photo gear during game drives!

We were having that prob in Feb in Grumeti Reserve but on the flight from Manyara these flies accompanied fellow travellers into the aircraft.

We wore the nets (despite it looks weird - but anything which helps is fine with us), windbreaker, gloves and protected our legs/ankles with blankets.
The bad thing with Tsetse is - they appear throughout the day when it's HOT and not just dusk/down.


Tsetse flies can be anything from 7 to 15mm long. They are sturdy flies not unlike houseflies and they have a painful bite. They spread the disease known as sleeping sickness (Trypanosomiasis) which is caused by a single celled motile organism. The disease is serious and sometimes fatal and is difficult to treat. There is no vaccine available. Sleeping sickness is thought to be present in 36 countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

Tsetse flies require shade and humidity and tend to occur along rivers and lake shores in association with game animals. They are attracted to the scent of animals, movement and bright colours.

Happy travels.

SV
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 08:21 AM
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I'm going with OAT and have heard from previous travellers that they generally avoid Tse Tse infested areas and usually the worst they experience them is in Tarangire.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:13 AM
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I think I'd find that a bit cumbersome/ uncomfortable/ hot to wear during the heat of the day.

Maybe a thin chiffon scarf might be more comfortable?
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:23 AM
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We had some significant dust in the Ngorongoro Crater and while driving in northern Kenya around that time of year, so we were happy to have our buffs (those stretchy tubes of fabric you can wear around your neck and pull up over your face as needed, use as a headband, etc.). They're also handy for covering up your camera.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 11:24 AM
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mrscherry - I hear you! Good luck!


Kavey

We arther sweat than getting bitten - my Tsetse marks from Nov 2008 Zam are still visible!

A chiffon for protection against Tsetse: First they laugh and bite later - no need for a hurry as they won't be heard ;-)

SV
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 03:46 AM
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I used surgical masks that I bought from a medical supply company when we were in Egypt and was VERY glad I had them. We were in Tanzania in April and there was little or no dust then.
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 06:07 AM
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SV I got bitten a LOT by tsetses too, though no scars remaining. But even through thick corduroy trousers - then again they bite through animal hides so I guess it makes sense!

Never got a single bite to my face though, which was always uncovered!
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Mar 3rd, 2010, 06:50 AM
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We drove the Northern Circuit this past August and it was incredibly dusty. Expect to have to change your shirts daily - they will be so dusty that you won't want to put them back on in the morning after showering. We did not wear masks or anything covering our faces. We found that the dust isn't so much choking - it just settles on everything. I can honestly say that we and all of our belongings have never been so filthy. I wished that we had brought plastic garbage bags to put our duffel bags in, so that our clean clothes would have been better protected from the dust. If you are asthmatic or prone to allergies, then I would certainly consider a mask or bandanna. If you decide to take a mask, then I would be inclined to go either with one that can be washed (and will dry overnight) or one that you can pitch and replace regularly - like everything else, they will become covered in dust, even on the inside. The dust is insidious and will find its way into everything. A bandanna would work equally well and could be washed each evening.

As for the tsetse flies, we found that they were far worse in Lake Manyara than Tarangire, but they were a nuisance in both parks. We were also bitten in the Serengeti. They were so bad at times, that we began recording (and celebrating! - there were many, "Gotcha, ya wretched creature!!") the time of our first tsetse fly kill each morning. I have many visible scares on my ankles and lower legs from the tsetses (I refused to give up my shorts and sandals - my DH, who wore pants, socks and shoes, received far fewer bites). The bites were so itchy that I had to take an anti-histamine to sleep at night. The Benadryl Itch Relief and Calamine lotion provided no relief whatever. The tsetses seem to target the ankles so take some very thick socks. They also like the back of the shoulders, where they bit us through our sweatshirts (over T-shirts). Although the tsetses are supposed to be attracted to dark colours and blue (the tsetse traps are blue and black), we found that the colours we wore didn't seem to make much difference.

Lest I give the impression that the dust and tsetse flies ruined our trip - not a chance! Would we go again? Absolutely! We are already planning a return trip in 2011. They were two small annoyances on an otherwise fabulous trip! Just go prepared (with a mask or bandanna, thick socks and an anti-histamine), and you'll have the trip of a lifetime. Robin
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Mar 5th, 2010, 07:27 AM
  #11
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Thanks for all the input! esp you Robin.

I definitely will take a mask, I may just take some from the hardware store. I'm asthmatic so I want to make sure to prevent an attack.

Did anyone find any kind of spray-on that helped with the TseTses?

There is a Deep Woods Off that I think is 100% deet but I'm leary of going that high unless maybe just for the day at Tarangire. I'm definitely sticking with long pants and a long sleeve button up over my T-Shirt. My brother might lend me his bug hood.

Again, I've heard the only place they are a major problem for us in August is in Tarangire.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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We didn't use any repellent, but I had read that none is effective against the tsetses.

We found the flies worse in Lake Manyara - they nearly drove us crazy in the south. We had to drive with the windows of the Land Rover shut which, given that we didn't have AC, was a tad hot!! It was either sweat to death or get eaten alive! The good news is that most of the wildlife in Lake Manyara is in the centre of the park, so you can avoid the tsetses. The only reason we ventured south was to see the hot springs. Robin
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Mar 5th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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In addition to the mask...like Spavogel said-->buy the overhead mosquito net, sells for $3 at Walmart. You should take both, one is useful for dust and the other for bites...
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Mar 5th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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In my four safaris on the northern circuit, I've yet to encounter tsetses, other than the odd one or two... very few mosquitos, either. A bandana should be all you need for dust. I didn't use one, but a few others did. A more important issue regarding dust is protecting your camera equipment. Some people take a pillowcase and keep their cameras tucked away in it while driving around. You'll also want to be careful if you have dust on your camera lens or eyeglasses. It's volcanic in origin and you can easily scratch lenses if you try to rub the dust off. Use a "puffer", then a cloth to finish off.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 04:01 AM
  #15
 
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We had 50% DEET repellents and they just don't seem to repel the tsetses at all!

Whilst they bit us whatever colours we were wearing, the worst day for me was when I was wearing pale blue denim jeans. So perhaps the colour just adds an extra appeal?!

Robin is spot on about the dust - it does creep into everything! But likewise, we didn't find it a choking issue.

Our worst tsetse attacks were in Meru!
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Mar 6th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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Blue and black are the colors used on tsetse fly traps; if you think you'll be around tsetses, I'd avoid those colors.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Better than simple mossie net is the "noseeum" head/hat covering, which is a finer weave. Available at sporting goods stores, as REI, and I'm sure others. A bit more expensive than $3... maybe $10.

I bought one years ago for first safari and it's with me on every trip anywhere, but have yet found a reason to use it.
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Mar 8th, 2010, 05:21 AM
  #18
 
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I second the recommendation for a 'buff' -- I usually used it to cover my hair against the dust, but you can also put it over your mouth or nose if you want to filter the air. They are amazingly versatile (although overpriced).

I took the OAT 'best of Kenya & Tanzania' trip (not sure if that is the same one you are taking). There were a couple of days in the Serengetti that Tse Tse flies were a nuisance, but most of the time we were Tse Tse free. And there was really less than an hour (checking into Tarangire at Twilight) when mosquitos were miserable (actually, it was I who was miserably, the mosquitos were probably perfectly happy). Frankly, I ended up with only a few bug bites over the whole trip, which is less than I get in a weekend trip to the Adirondacks.

As you can see, there is not a universal opinion about what to do about Tse Tse flies. While I'm usually a bug magnet, my roommate got several nasty bites (even needing medical attention for the oozing sores), and I got none. The only differences I can tell you between what she and I did were:
1) I soaked/sprayed my clothes with permethrin beforehand
2) I avoided dark blue / black
3) I used a eucalyptus soap (the bath and body aromatherapy line, scented with eucalyptus & mint)

Bugs were less of an issue than I expected, frankly, but dust was worse. Be sure to bring something to cover your hair, or it can end up a disgusting matted mess. Again, I found that the Buff worked great, but a kerchief would be fine too, although less convenient.
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Jun 3rd, 2015, 02:40 PM
  #19
 
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Mrs Cherry2000

I am going to Tanzania soon and I have very bad asthma. Please can you tell me if you wore a mask? If you did what sort did you where? Please reply soon! I am just worried as I have no idea what it is going to be like and I am quit self conscious!
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Jun 4th, 2015, 10:57 AM
  #20
 
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The tse-tse flies in Tanzania DO NOT carry sleeping sickness. Believe me, if they did lots of us would be laid out and not be able to move. While I've been fortunate to get only one (1) bite in 20/yrs, a friend with me on one visit was bitten everywhere and but for wanting to scratch (advised her not to), she sure didn't have any other reaction. We used an antibiotic creme which seemed to ease the desire to scratch and she was fine within 3/days... no more issues.

Tse-tses are found in woodland areas and your guide knows when you'll be driving thru such and advise you to roll up windows, put on the a/c till thru the area.

When it comes to dust, guess that doesn't favor me either; rare that I'm covered in it or even an indication of any, not even on the few 'white' (goodness she's wearing white). Maybe because I generally always have my windows rolled up. All my cloths stay relatively clean throughout my time on safari. Sorry to say, but I do often wonder if some travelers aren't playing in the mud. I sure ain't, so no offense please.
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