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Everything You Need To Know About Mosquitoes

There are more mosquitoes on the planet than there are people. But on a particularly hot and humid summer’s night in Africa, it might feel as though there is more than triple that amount. They are annoying little bugs. Not only do their bites itch for days afterwards, but if you are one of the unlucky ones who don’t have a mosquito net to sleep under, the incessant buzzing sound will be enough to drive you crazy.

What really makes mosquitoes the unpleasant little vampires that they are, is the fact that some of them are harbingers of malaria.

In most parts of the world, malaria has been all but eradicated, but this is sadly not the case in most African nations. And when on a Kruger National Park safari, the threat of the mosquito becomes a very real one, as the Kruger lies in the heart of mosquito territory.

One piece of advice that every travel article about Africa safaris will mention is taking malaria tablets and taking them correctly. Malaria is completely treatable, but it is going to put a damper on an otherwise fantastic safari experience. It’s going to make you feel totally sick and it is not worth the risk when there are ways to prevent getting sick, period.

How is the virus transferred?

Only the female mosquito can give you malaria. In fact, only the females will drink blood. Male mosquitoes feed on nectar. The female needs blood in order to reproduce, and during those times when the females are not reproducing, they too will feed on nectar.

Once the female mosquito has bitten you, they inject saliva into the skin to make it easier to feed on your blood. And it is in the saliva that malaria can possibly be transmitted. The red bump, which you’ll get after being bitten, is actually a reaction to the saliva.

Just one quick bite can result in malaria.

While on your Kruger National Park safari, you will see all kinds of animals. While lions have had the past reputation of being man-eaters, and although hippos are responsible for numerous deaths each year, mosquitoes are actually responsible for more deaths in Africa than any animal.

But this article is not meant to scare you. Rather we want you to be aware of the dangers one tiny insect can possess.

Mosquitoes don’t just carry malaria. They also carry of dengue fever, encephalitis and yellow fever, although the chances of getting any of these illnesses are very low.

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A few interesting facts about mosquitoes

You will become well acquainted with mosquitoes when on a Kruger National Park safari, so you might as well learn a few interesting things about the insect:

  • 3 450 different species of mosquitoes

That number is pretty accurate. Luckily, not every one of those species is looking to suck your blood. Some species of mosquitoes are known to bother animals instead of humans while others prefer the sweet taste of nectar, as mentioned before.

  • Lazy, low flying

One thing that the mosquito has going against it, is its flying speed. So once you feel the sting of their bite, if you look closely in the air around you, you might be able to get some revenge. They are even slower after they have fed.

  • 5 – 6 Months

This is the average lifespan of an adult mosquito. Few will probably live this long but as far as insects are concerned, this is quite the impressive lifespan.


Malaria and the Kruger National Park

This has to be one of the biggest concerns for those visiting the Kruger National Park: getting malaria. But because the park is a low-risk area, it doesn’t have to be stressful if you are taking preventative medication. The risk period for malaria runs from November to April, when the Kruger gets its annual rain.

Once bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria, symptoms might not show up for up to 35 days. This means you could be back in your home country before symptoms present themselves.  Some of the more common symptoms include headaches, fever, chills, body aches, and extreme tiredness.

Before you head to Africa to enjoy a Kruger National Park safari, visit your doctor to get the right medication. Kruger National Park safaris offer incredible memories, don’t let malaria ruin them!

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