Tanzania: avoid the tsetse flies in the Serengeti

Have you heard about the tsetse fly?

I must say I learned about it when I was young, doing crosswords. For the box “fly” the answer was always TSE-TSE. That rather large fly, called the sleeping fly, was something very distant and far of reach until I crossed the Serengeti national park coming from Rwanda, and there it was, that huge fly!

Not like I took the time the time to take pictures of it, the priority was: not to get bitten by this noisy thing! it feeds on blood and causes a sleeping sickness in humans, but also in animals. It is a problem for the locals, the cattle and wildlife, so they created those blue and black traps treated with attractants and insecticides. You can see quite a few in the western part of the Serengeti. The flies seem to like to land on black… they have color vision and are also attracted to colors! So…don’t wear blue/black in tsetse fly areas! avoid any colors and black, actually… wear long sleeves and use insect repellent! especially if you’re in an open vehicle. You don’t want them to land on YOU.

The word Tsetse means “fly” in the Tswana language, and there are 23 species of it, with different kinds of traps depending on the species.

Pictures of some tsetse fly traps:


See my other posts on Tanzania

Categories: Africa, Tanzania, WildlifeTags: , , , , , ,

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