Female Anopheles mosquito
Malaria. Female Anopheles mosquito. Just the mention of these words puts the fear of God into the most seasoned production manager.
It’s one thing making plans to haul a crew into exciting, beautiful Botswana to film, it’s another thing entirely being responsible for the well-being and health of the crew. Taking Malaria precautions is not an optional extra.
High risk areas in Botswana
Northern Botswana, Chobe, the Okavango delta and Kasane are the areas where Malaria is most commonly found. Specifically between November and April which is the period during and immediately after the rainy season.
Aside from seeking medical advice before your departure, and taking the medication that your doctor will prescribe for your crew, taking additional Malaria precautions makes sense.
Here are some Malaria precautions to consider:
- Mosquitoes feed between dusk and dawn, so get the crew to cover up as the sun sets! Wear loose clothing that covers their arms, neck, ankles and feet.
- Wear shirts with collars that you can turn up, instead of t-shirts.
- Everyone should sleep with a mosquito net. Every self- respecting lodge in Botswana should supply them, but make sure!
- Use mosquito coils and repellent sprays. No need to bring them into Botswana, buy them locally.
- There are homeopathic spray options to the chemical sprays. Film Fixers make up a mix of Tea Tree, Lavender and Citronella which we dilute with water in a spray bottle for use– the mix seems to keep the other biting bugs at bay too! Spray on clothes, linen and body.
- The windows in your lodge/tent should have mosquito nets on them – keep them closed, but allow for air flow.
- Set up camp for the production crew away from still bodies of water which is where the mosquitoes breed.
- Use body and hair products designed for outdoor application. Mosquitoes seem to be attracted to some fragrances used in body lotions, shampoos, deoderants etc.
- Light Citronella candles wherever you gather your crew. These seem to help to keep mosquitoes at bay – get a supply of the large outdoor ones that can handle the evening breezes.
Botswana is amazing, but you and your crew need to be informed and prepared, and knowing that you are taking Malaria precautions will help keep your crew safe, and give you peace of mind.