Well the best precaution is common sense. Despite what has been said in the above paragraph, there is really no way of knowing for sure whether you will be sleeping in a malaria free area or not. Getting malaria is really not a very pleasant experience at all, and from what I have seen it never really seems to go away for good once you have been treated. The best advice is to make sure you don’t get bitten. As stupid as this may sound, it is technically quite attainable.
Firstly do take whatever prophylactic (fancy word for malaria tablets) you and your doctor have decided on. For Zululand which is now labelled as a chloroquine-resistant area, all you need is Paludrine in conjunction with Daramal. This is obtainable from any South African chemist (far cheaper than at home). It is sold in a single pack that will last you a two week period in the infected area and the first tablet only needs to be taken 2 days before entering the infected area.
The author is not a medical practitioner, but I have made the following observations over the years in giving foreigners travel advice. You do not need the often prescribed stronger drugs, that are actually intended for places with serious malaria problems such as Malawi or Mozambique. In particular I am talking about Larium, which makes 9 out of 10 users quite ill, and a lesser proportion delirious, with rumoured lasting side effects, besides it is very expensive anyway.
Something else to consider is alternative forms of medicine. For instance there are quite a number of Africans who use Homeopathic anti malarial medicines when visiting malarial areas. Even places like Mozambique which is a high risk area. These homeopathic medicines do not have the side effects that prophylactics have as they are said to contain homoeopathically safe amounts of Quinine. The distributors of these locally made medicines are not aware of any of their patients ever contracting malaria while using their medication. So if you are interested in a alternative form of medicinal protection, I suggest you contact the following Homeopathic Doctor on the telephone numbers provided.
Dr. Norina Standwich
115 Edmond’s road
Rep. of South Africa
Tel: +27 (31) 2024166
Secondly there is much you can do to create barriers between you and the mosquito.
Use insect repellent (Liberal amounts of the chemical DEET are very effective).
Sleep under a mosquito net (provided for you by most accommodation establishments)
Learn how to use a mosquito net correctly before using it (not as easy as it would seem)
Wear long sleeve and long pants coverings after dark and sit around the smoky camp fire at night.
If you really want to get clandestine:
Wear only dark coloured clothing after sunset (mosquitoes navigate on infra red)
Don’t wear sweet smelling perfume or deodorant (all insects are attracted to those, when in Africa smell like the African Summer)
Use citronella oil based soap when washing yourself (it is biodegradable too)
Make sure there is a strong breeze blowing through your room while sleeping (mosquitoes home in on the water vapour as well as the Carbon Dioxide you breath out while you sleep).
You can burn mosquito coils/candles in your room, but these can irritate the throat especially if you are asthmatic, and they scare away more interesting visitors you might wish to see e.g.: bats, genets, snakes etc.
Re apply insect repellent to exposed skin if you have been sweating or have wiped it off accidentally (it does not soak in).
Please note that eating garlic as a deterrent is an absolute fallacy, and is likely to get you thrown out of your tent / hut / bungalow by your fellow travellers, which will certainly put you at the mercy of the mosquitoes.