Book Reviews

This is the story of an amazingly courageous woman who traveled from Europe to Zimbabwe on her own, and what a story it is!This book reall...
Alice
Dot Bekker…my favourite person. I feel like I know but I don’t. I’ve read your book describing your amazing journey about going home to Zimbabwe...
Adele
What an amazing read,what a brave woman!!!I just cant put the book down, shes such a good writer ❤️ (Facebook)
Thoko
This book was an answered prayer, a daily entertainment and a true inspiration. I feel like I know Dot personally after reading this book....
Michelle
I found “Going Home to Africa” a gripping, authentic, informative and humorous book! Gripping…in the countless unpredictable travel/r...
Gerald
From the first chapter I was hooked and followed Dot's adventures down the coast of West Africa with awe. I bought the book because I too am con...
Jordan
Dot took me on the journey of a lifetime. I witnessed the challenges, frustrations, joys and overwhelming beauty of Africa from the comfort of m...
Wendy
I had the pleasure of meeting Dot when she was living in Solsona and have followed her adventures on Going Home to Africa on IG. I have been so ...
Ruth
This is a brilliant story of a lovely lady driving solo from Northern Africa through many countries to go home to Zimbabwe. This touches my hear...
Dallas
Going home to Africa is an honest, humble and uplifting account of an incredible adventure and Dot’s fighting spirit and firm belief in the univ...
Fiona
Absolutely Compelling I could not put this book down and I am not an avid reader, getting bored quickly. I loved every moment of her jou...
Antoinette
FANTASTIC BOOK! I LOVED every page of this book and didn't want it to end. I have read many travelogues and this was by far my favourite...
Kevin
My first impression was just: Wow! Hats off! What an impressive book... I can already now say that it is, along with Doris Kearns Goodwin's Pulitze...
Susanne
Dot is one of the most amazing "road" friends we made while overlanding through Africa, and whatever we were doing she brought a tremendous sense o...
Laurie
I absolutely love travelling so this story really spoke to me. Having followed Dot in real time on her epic journey, I’m now absolutely loving the ...
Catherine
I think the fact that you share ALL of your experiences, good and bad, and do NOT leave out the huge challenges and obstacles you had to face on a ...
Susanne
I’ve just been spending the whole evening with your book. I feel so fascinated by your story and I love the way you’re describing both breathtaking...
Alexandra
Absolutely loved it. Very inspiring and Dot I would love to meet you one day when I visit Zimbabwe again. Thank you for sharing this amazing story....
Justyna
I have just finished reading Going Home to Africa and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it more as the journey went on... Her experiences become more ...
Nicola

Going Home to Africa

One Woman's quest to return home, driving from Europe to Zimbabwe.

Things that go bite !

20190521_114934 Green mosquito heaven
I have to be honest, I’m delicious, not even an acquired taste, just plain outright delicious! 
 
That is the opinion of any small biting thing that is around, especially mosquitos.  It is the bane of my life and I can confess that I have been scarred with PTSD as a consequence of the mosquitos of Africa.  When the merest twitch or brush against any part of my body I will twitch with unexpected urgency as a reflexive action, after having been subjected to untold number of bites over my lifetime with an intensity over the months I was driving through Africa.
 
Apart from the time that I was in Morocco and Mauritania, especially the latter where I’m certain is probably an entirely hostile environment for these pesky creatures, whilst the hot and humid environment of sub-Saharan Africa was entirely to their liking.  I most of all dreaded the lovely lush green gardens with beautiful thriving tropical plants which were always the home of a gazzilion of these pests.
 
I have also become an expert on the mosquito, you may think that a mosquito is a mosquito … not at all, there are different sizes of mosquito from visible to virtually microscopic and their bites vary too.  I have yet to master which mosquito bite is the result of which mosquito, my research is however, regrettably, ongoing.  
 
The bits vary too, there is the bite which results in a large pink blotch of several centimetres in circumference leading to a dark pink and angry looking solid bump with a pinhole somewhere amidst it.  There was the red blotch with tiny blisters from their several proboscis, another being the tiny dot of a bite which tended to burn like I had been set on fire.  I experienced all of these, whilst in Benin, parked at a hostel with a garden that everyone seemed to insist on watering several times a day creating a sheer mosquito heaven, my legs and arms were covered in dots of bites and I was told ‘you’re not just Dot in name’ … oh gosh, a new Dot joke.
 
I struggled with mosquito screens, finding it impossible to secure every mm of the uneven door spaces against the tiny torpedoes, no matter how careful I was there was almost always one or several that managed to make their way in.  The only solid way to ensure that I remained safe from their prying proboscis was to lock myself in the van … which in the heat meant being in a tin can sauna.  
 
Many was the night when I would be woken by the dive-bombing whine which would send me under the duvet cover that I used as a sheet, from which I would attempt to swat them away.  Spraying with insect spray was usually the only option but that meant having to open the door for ventilation so I too didn’t expire and the consequence of that was that there would be several more making their attempt to attack me.
 
Many was the night I spent hiding under the sheet sweating like I was doing a purge in a sauna, merely to prevent getting bitten by the monsters.
 
I had been warned about the dangers of DEET and consequently I had armed myself with several different types of ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘eco/natural’ mosquito repellents.  The problem was that none of them worked, and most of them stank horribly, especially as I despise the smell of citronella (a common ingredient) on my skin.  I even tried combinations of the sprays putting several and even all of them on at one time … the only one offended was me, I wished I could stay away from myself.
 
By the time I arrived in Angola I had truly become a nervous wreck when it came to mosquitos and when I chanced upon a well-known brand of mosquito repellent with DEET, I snatched it off the shelf, without the slightest concern for anything other than that I should be able to rid myself of bites.
 
The mosquito was also responsible for the worm that ate away at my elbow for several weeks, a mosquito borne disease called filariasis, whereby the mosquito deposits the spore into the skin and from there a worm develops, this worm then makes lots of tiny worms and these can find their way into your lymph nodes blocking them and causing elephantiasis.  I was lucky to have it diagnosed, yuk!
 
Of course the incredible wonder is that despite all this biting and sucking, I managed, by some sheer miracle, to avoid getting malaria … and I was absolutely in malaria areas as other overlanders who had been on similar routes to me had been less fortunate and come down with it.   I had opted not to take prophylactics as there was such a conflicting amount of information and most of it agreed that it was inadvisable to take it for long periods of time.  
 
As they say if you thing small things don’t make a difference, you’ve never been in a room with a mosquito.  The mosquito is responsible for more deaths that almost any other disease as they also carry Zika, dengue and a number of other diseases in addition to the most common killer, malaria.
 
4
Interview - The Edge of Adventure
Visit Zimbabwe - Podcast

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Monday, 24 January 2022

Captcha Image

About Dot

Dot is Zimbabwean born and raised and after having lived in Europe for 20 years she decided to return home but uniquely she decided to drive  through Africa to get there.

She achieved her dream by driving 20,000kms through 18 West African countries over 8.5 months on her own for most of the journey.  Her book of the same title will soon be launched,and you can find out more about Dot or subscribe to the Blog for more.

 

Kusasa Scholarship Fund

Alongside my journey I've decided to raise funds for scholarships for girl's education in Zimbabwe, find out more about that here, to contribute to the Scholarship Fund please do so here.