Tsetse Fly Repellents For Africa

Unfortunately there is still no consistently effective repellent for these flies that can bite through anything.

Not only do they deliver painful 'bites', infected tsetse flies are responsible for transmitting parasites known as 'trypanosomes' which may cause trypanosomiasis, also known as African Sleeping Sickness and may pose some risk to hunters in tropical rural areas. Read more on sleeping sickness in Africa.

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  • All kinds of scientific studies have been done to try and find an effective repellent including testing various concentrations of DEET and Permethrin on different coloured clothing. Blue is a very attractive colour to tsetse flies, so best avoided at all times when hunting in tsetse country. The upshot of one study found that a permethrin impregnated mesh jacket reduced the biting rate by 75%.
  • Some hunters have found products that seem to work for them with tsetse fly, such as...Avon Skin-So-Soft - this was a regular Avon skin product that was found by chance to have insect repellent properties. Avon has now developed the product into 'Bug Guard' range which includes towelettes and aerosols.
  • Dettol and Water (30% Dettol) mixture, applied very frequently. This would be best brewed first and decanted into a spray bottle.
  • Some safari-goers swear by Skeeter Beater insect repellent for tsetses.
  • Tuck your trousers legs into your socks and boots.
  • Avoid bright and strong coloured clothing especially blue.
  • Tsetses are very attracted to moving vehicles so are a particular nuisance in and on the hunting truck. When you are being attacked by a big swarm, a blast of Doom may be a welcome but short-lived respite.
  • Meanwhile you will be reduced to driving yourself mad swatting yourself and your friends to prevent the painful bite.
  • Fortunately there are generally not a lot of tsetse flies in a hunting camp. You may get the odd few in your tent - so swat and spray with Doom. They generally come into camp on your body and/or on the hunting vehicle when you return in the evening.

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