As a teen, I used to love to hide in inconspicuous tents (I called them jumpers) and wore camouflage colours. However, if I was wearing the kind of colours I love nowadays (red, pink, jewel green) in Africa, I would apparently announce to all the mosquitoes nearby: “Dinner is ready.” So now I am hunting for clothes in neutral khaki, beige and brown.
The other kind of camouflage I never considered before planning the trip is scent. Unfortunately, there are various views about which smells will put mosquitoes off their dinner. Some people recommend vanilla – but surely if mosquitoes have a sweet tooth and like sweet flowery smells, vanilla should be a definite no-no... Some people recommend lavender; others consider that suicide, pointing to all the insects that get attracted by lavender in our climate. Maybe the attraction to lavender depends on whether a mosquito was born in Europe or Africa, but I am not going to take any chances... (So my idea of sniffing lavender or playing with aromatic playdough to calm my nerves is out of the window. I shall have to resort to earplugs to block out noises coming from inside and outside the tent...)
The one smell that seems to be generally accepted as being off-putting for bugs is citronella. So not only am I hunting for invisible clothing, now I am also hunting for “unsmellable” cosmetics.
My current envisaged beauty regime consists of washing with citronella soap, using no-fragrance moisturizer (adding a few drops of citronella oil of course) and the highest low fragrance or better still no fragrance sun protection I can find, Incognito spray all over my body and clothes, and then spraying the tent windows and entrance with DEET spray before retiring for the night.
As someone who is more “wash and go” when it comes to my beauty regime, I am already exhausted before I have started the holiday!