Africa is a continent we’ve had the pleasure of visiting multiple times over the past decade. However, visiting such a continent comes with some additional responsibilities for travellers, most notably; insects such as mosquitos.
Mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and Zika virus to name a few.
Therefore to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites, it is important to use an effective mosquito repellent and ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date and correct for travel.
During our multiple trips to Africa we’ve had the pleasure of trying a number of different insect repellent brands, and now have a list of favourites that we use on any upcoming trips.
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Best Mosquito Repellents For Africa
Here are the four different mosquito repellents we’ve tried and loved when visiting Africa.
1. Repel 100 Insect Repellent
Repel 100 is 98.11% DEET and has been specifically formulated for Safari-like conditions providing protection for up to ten hours without the need for re-application.
This gives you plenty of time to enjoy your day without having to worry about needing to consistently reapply.
The bottle comes in a compact size perfect to fit in travel bags and lightweight backpacks, with an easy pump spray applicator.
2. Coleman 100 Max
The Coleman 100 Max insect repellant is 100% DEET and comes in a 4oz can.
This insect repellent helps repel all kinds of bugs from ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, gnats, and fleas.
Despite being 100% DEET it’s still relatively low-odour making it a great choice for kids or those with heightened sensitivities.
3. Ben’s Insect Repellent
Ben’s insect repellent is 100% DEET and lasts for up to 10 hours on a single application.
This insect repellent is also fragrance-free, and therefore a great option for kids or those with heightened sensitivities.
Finally, Ben’s insect repellent comes in a small bottle that is perfect for keeping in your backpack while travelling.
4. Jungle Formula Maximum Repellent
Jungle Formula is 50% DEET and 1% Geraniol insect repellent that provides protection for up to 9 hours.
This is the UK’s No.1 selling insect repellent brand and as such provides insect repellent in a variety of formats including; roll-on, sprays and aerosols.
Where To Buy Insect Repellant?
You can find a pharmacy or travel clinic stocking bug-repellent products in most major cities and towns within Africa.
However, we still recommend purchasing a bottle (or two depending on how long you’re travelling) in advance, especially if you’re looking for a particular brand.
What Is DEET?
DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a chemical compound that is commonly used as an insect repellent.
It was developed by the United States Army in 1946 for use in insect-infested areas and was later registered for use by the general public in 1957.
DEET is effective at repelling a wide range of insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas and works by masking the scents that attract insects, making it difficult for them to locate their human hosts.
DEET is available in various concentrations, ranging from about 5% to 100%.
The higher the concentration of DEET, the longer the protection it provides. As such we highly recommend purchasing a 100% (or as close to 100%) DEET insect repellant for your trip to Africa for convenience and peace of mind.
DEET can be harmful if ingested or applied to open wounds and can cause irritation or allergic reactions in some people.
It’s therefore incredibly important to follow the instructions on the product label when using DEET and wash it off when you return indoors.
When To Apply Insect Repellant
We recommend applying insect repellent every morning before you go outdoors, as mosquitoes and other insects are most active during dawn and dusk.
However, depending on the insect repellant you purchase (and how long you’re going to be outside exploring) you may wish to reapply the repellent again in the afternoon – if in doubt read the instructions on the product label.
You can also apply insect repellent before you go to bed to help prevent mosquito bites while you sleep.
How To Apply Insect Repellant
When applying insect repellent, it is important to follow the instructions on the product label since some insect repellent product application processes may differ from others.
That being said, you’ll apply most insect repellents by following this process;
Begin by washing your hands with soap and water before applying the repellent.
If you are using a spray repellent, hold the can or bottle about 6 inches away from your skin or clothing and spray evenly, covering all exposed skin.
Be cautious when using insect repellent on clothing as it can damage some materials if applied directly.
If you are using a lotion or cream repellent, apply a thin layer to your skin, using just enough to cover your skin without being too heavy or greasy.
Try to avoid applying insect repellant near your eyes, nose, or mouth as well as to any cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.