Parents, you’ll be happy to know that it is not only possible, but also incredibly easy, to plan a 100% malaria-free family safari.
When planning a trip to Africa, malaria is of one of the only major medical factors to take into consideration. Transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, malaria is present in many African countries and can be a serious cause for concern for parents wanting to travel with their children. While it is possible to prevent malaria with medication and other precautions, some parents prefer not to risk it. Luckily, there are some excellent malaria-free areas in South Africa that allow families to enjoy the quintessential safari experience without the worry of contracting malaria.
Here are a few of our favourite places for a malaria-free family safari:
1. Madikwe Game Reserve:
Nestled against the border to Botswana, in the North West Province of South Africa, Madikwe Game Reserve boasts 76,000 hectares of magical malaria-free wilderness. Although it is one of the lesser-known reserves in South Africa, it offers all the game viewing goodness of its more popular rivals, such as the Kruger National Park, but without the crowds or malaria carrying mosquitos. It also has a thriving population of wild dogs, which are critically endangered, and guests are often treated to sightings of these elusive predators.
Where to stay: Madikwe Lelapa Lodge‘Lelapa’ literally translates to ‘family’, which says it all! The suites are spacious and comfortable and feature private plunge pools and outdoor showers. There are also a host of activities on offer that the whole family will enjoy, making Lelapa Lodge a great choice of accommodation when staying in Madikwe Game Reserve.
2. The Waterberg DistrictThe Waterberg is another one of South Africa’s malaria-free gems. Situated in Limpopo, just 3 hours drive from Johannesburg, the Waterberg is considered one of South Africa’s most significant archaeological and palaeontological sites. Stretching over 150,000 hectares, the area is known for its ancient rock formations, thousand-year-old San rock art sites and 3-million-year-old humanoid fossils that have been discovered there. The ecology ranges from savannah pains, to woodlands, to mountains, and as a result, it is home to an abundance of diverse wildlife.
Where to stay: Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush HomesSet within a 12 000 acre private game reserve, Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are two unique bush homes aimed at providing a truly authentic safari experience that people of all ages can enjoy. Offering activities such as horse riding, bush walks, archery, cycling, quad biking (and more), it’s the ideal location for families with an adventurous spirit.
3. Addo Elephant National ParkSituated just an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Addo Elephant Park is the third largest national park in the country and also one of the most accessible malaria-free safari destinations. Home to the Big Seven, Addo offers travellers the chance to witness Africa’s famous Big 5, plus two more members from the ocean – southern right whales and great white sharks.
Where to stay: River Bend LodgeSituated in the Nyathi area of the Addo Elephant National Park, RiverBend Lodge offers luxury five-star accommodation in eight rooms, as well as a Private Safari Villa that is perfect for family groups.
4. Kgalagadi Transfrontier National ParkStraddling the border between South Africa Botswana, the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park is a popular safari destination and is also considered to be completely malaria-free. It combines the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in the North West Province of South Africa with the Gemsbok National Park in the extreme south west area of Botswana, to create one of the largest conservation areas in Africa. While the environment in the park is semi-arid, it is home to an abundance of animals and is well-known for providing great predator sightings.
Where to stay: !Xaus Lodge!Xaus Lodge, pronounced ‘kaus’, is situated in the heart of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. This family-friendly safari lodge welcomes children of all ages with open arms. Offering 12 individual chalets, each with its own private viewing deck, !Xaus provides the perfect base from which to enjoy the park’s striking scenery and wildlife experiences.
There are several other areas in South Africa that also offer malaria-free safaris, however the aforementioned ones are just a few of our personal favourites. For help planning your family safari, get in touch with us, or download our free eBook, The Ultimate Safari Planning Guide for Families.
Note: Even if there is no malaria in the area that you’re travelling to, we recommend precautionary measures, such as insect repellent and mosquito nets, to prevent mosquito bites, especially in summer.