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Malaria-Free Safari Options

May 9, 2024  By: Gretchen

An African safari is one of the most sought-after experiences for travelers. From breathtaking sightings of big game and great apes to stunning, unforgettable landscapes and exciting active pursuits, there are nearly endless choices for adventure. As with any destination, travel in Africa is not without risk, and many destinations in Africa do carry some risk of malaria transmission. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is generally preventable through the use of prophylactic drugs combined with protection options such as insect repellant, covering exposed skin with clothing and sleeping under mosquito nets. While no vaccine is available, preventive measures are easy to implement in advance of and during a trip, but some travelers would prefer to avoid malaria risk altogether while on safari. For those guests, we recommend several areas in South Africa where they can enjoy all of the wonders of safari without malaria risk. As with any trip, we advise that you consult with your doctor about any vaccines or medications that might be recommended or required for travel.

rhinos on game drive

Eastern Cape Province

South Africa’s Eastern Cape offers a variety of malaria-free safari options. The area is best known for its lovely beaches, beautiful flora, diverse fauna and excellent private reserves. An AAC favorite is the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve which is home to the Big 5 among other incredible wildlife. It also boasts several world-class lodges including the family-friendly, all ages Kwandwe Ecca Lodge (family suites are inclusive of a private vehicle and ranger), the perfect for couples Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, or one of the exclusive use private villas that are ideal for families or small groups – Fort House, Uplands Homestead and Melton Manor. Visitors to Kwandwe can expect a range of safari activities including twice daily game drives, walking safaris, fishing safaris and night drives. There are also special rhino conservation activities on offer (at additional cost) – be sure to ask your Journey Specialist for details!

giraffe by vehicle

Tswalu Kalahari

Situated in the largest private game reserve in South Africa, Tswalu Kalahari offers an exclusive experience in a unique and beautiful ecosystem. A maximum of 40 lucky guests, all in private vehicles, are allowed to explore over 270,000 acres at any given time, and travelers have the chance to see lesser known and found but highly sought after species such as brown hyena, aardwolf, pangolin and porcupine, along with endangered wild dog, black and white rhino, cheetah and black-maned lions, among others. Three luxury safari lodges dot the vast land including The Motse, an intimate 9-tent luxury safari camp; Tarkuni, an exclusive use, multi-generational or small group property that sleeps up to 10; and Loape, comprised of 1- and 2-bedroom tented safari homes. Talk with your Journey Specialist about which accommodation option is right for you.

With private vehicles and guides, guests have complete flexibility during their stay. They can enjoy game drives, walking safaris, visiting habituated meerkats, horseback riding, bird watching, seeing ancient rock art, the chance to be involved in wildlife project work, dinner at the renowned Klein JAN restaurant, and for families, there is an excellent children’s program and babysitting available.

elephants by watering hole

Madikwe Game Reserve

Located in South Africa’s North West Province near the border with Botswana, Madikwe Game Reserve offers a ‘Magnificent 7’ experience (Africa’s Big 5 plus cheetah and wild dog), along with abundant other game and birdlife. The reserve was created in 1992 by a project called ‘Operation Phoenix,’ which saw elephant, Cape buffalo, black and white rhino, along with various antelope and predator species including lion, cheetah, spotted hyena and critically endangered African wild dog relocated to what is now Madikwe Game Reserve. Some of our favorite camps and lodges in the reserve include the exclusive use, 2-bedroom Morukuru Owners House (3- and 5-bedroom houses are also available), Mateya Safari Lodge, Madikwe Safari Lodge and Jaci’s Tree Lodge where you can enjoy activities like game drives, bush walks, night drives and more.

lions by game drive vehicle

Marakele National Park

This malaria-free area, located in South Africa’s Waterberg Region in the Limpopo Province, is home to breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. We love the privately managed 57,000 acre Marataba Private Reserve that is situated within the park for its Big 5 game viewing, stunning landscapes and fantastic activities. Guests staying at Marataba Safari Lodge or the more intimate, hiking-focused Marataba Mountain Lodge can enjoy game drives, bush walks, water safaris and a rhino conservation experience (seasonal, at extra cost – ask us for details). They also offer a great kids adventure program, welcoming kids of all ages and offering child minding services. You can even spend a night in a treehouse under the stars during your stay (subject to availability)!

scenic view

Are You Ready for Your Malaria-Free South African Safari?

Contact one of our Journey Specialists to start planning your customized safari and keep in touch by subscribing to our newsletter below.


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Photos courtesy Jaci’s, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, Tswalu Kalahari, Mateya Safari Lodge and Marataba Private Reserve