Malaria is not to be taken lightly. It is a potentially fatal disease transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito. Certain factors influence the risk of contracting malaria. For example low-lying equatorial swamp will be high-risk all year through, a dry montane plateau set at a subtropical latitude will probably carry no risk at all, and places falling between these extremes often show a marked seasonal pattern – medium to high risk in the wet summer months, low to no risk in the dry winter. Remote areas tend to be lower risk as there are fewer people to act as vectors for malaria. Our rule of thumb is to take malaria prophylaxis when in doubt. Ask your doctor for his advice.
You can also lessen the risk by avoiding being bitten. Wear long sleeves, trousers and socks and douse any exposed skin with a good mosquito repellent shortly before it gets dark (the anopheles mosquito is active at dawn and dusk), and always sleep under a net.
The African sun is very strong and harmful. Use lots of sun block and a hat – particularly if you are on foot, in a boat, or in an open vehicle. That tan may look good for a few days after you get back from safari, but skin cancer is a high risk for everybody – especially fair-skinned people.
You will probably be bitten by lots of bugs and get lots of itchy swellings (tsetse flies in certain areas are the worst culprits). A good anti-histamine cream usually reduces swelling and itchiness. Check your body for ticks after every bush walk and at least once a day even if you are not walking. If these bites cause discomfort or concern approach your lodge manager for advice.