On the Road


Mosquitoes are indirectly responsible for killing more people every year than any other creature alive. The death toll in Africa alone runs to millions as malaria and dengue fever take the lives of all those who can’t get access to modern health care. In fact, there are some kinds of the disease, such as cerebral malaria that can take you down in days. Read more about the risks for the traveller in our malaria guide.

Even the ones that don’t transmit disease can make your life a misery when there are clouds of them leaving irritating bites around your main arteries. Wearing long trousers and shirts to give them less of a target and it helps if you can learn to sleep with a shawl over your face. Nasty insecticide sprays work but won’t get you laid; an alternative is to apply lemon grass oil or, in extremis, oil and tobacco juice.

Don’t scratch bites.

If the mosquitoes leave the traveller wondering what kind of malicious creation he lives in, remember the Native American tale: all the animals were gathered long ago to discuss the future of the new mammal – humans.

They’re going to be trouble, the pigs said. Let’s kill them now, the cows suggested. A unanimous vote was required to wipe out mankind but the mosquito dissented: I don’t know, it said, I reckon these humans have their good points.