SafarisAfricana

The 20 Best Malaria-Free Safari Destinations

Find the ultimate malaria free safari.

Malaria-free safaris are increasing in popularity as young families, pregnant ladies, and others unable or unwilling to take anti-malarial medication still want to experience an African safari.

Whatever the reason for wanting to avoid taking anti-malarial precautions or medications, the good news is that there are many excellent malaria-free safari destinations open to you. These malaria-free safari destinations are spread across ecologically diverse regions of South Africa and Namibia, with some of the best national parks in the world and world-class game viewing.

So, if you want to have a true safari experience and see the big five without worrying about malaria medication or precautions, here’s our list of the very best destinations for malaria-free safaris:

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About malaria

South Africa malaria-free safaris

  • Eastern Cape malaria-free safaris
  • Northern Cape malaria-free safaris
  • Waterberg (Limpopo) malaria free safaris
  • North West Province malaria-free safaris

Namibia malaria-free safaris

Map of all malaria-free safari destinations

Book a malaria-free safari

What is malaria?

Malaria is an infectious disease carried by female mosquitos that affects humans and other animals, and can be transmitted by just one mosquito bite. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, and typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. ( Read one travellers’ experience of getting malaria in Uganda .)

I n severe cases, malaria can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death, though the high mortality figures of malaria are primarily a reflection of the poor health care in many parts of Africa. The vast majority of tourists who get malaria have fast access to medicine, doctors, clean water and food, and make a complete recovery.

Malaria Free Safari Destinations in South Africa

Malaria is present in many parts of South Africa, and some of the best national parks and game reserves in South Africa – such as the Kruger National Park and others in the north-eastern regions of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal – are not in the malaria-free zone.

However, many award-winning game reserves in South Africa have been established in other regions over the years, relocating large numbers of animals with healthy populations of the big five, wild dog and cheetah, resulting in some phenomenal game-viewing.

South Africa’s Eastern Cape

A safari in the Eastern Cape offers the ideal opportunity to combine a drive along South Africa’s world-famous Garden Route with a malaria-free safari experience at one of the many high-quality private reserves.

All game reserves in the Eastern Cape are completely malaria-free and tend to be fully inclusive. This means that meals, game drives , and other safari activities are included in the per night cost.

1. Addo Elephant Park, South Africa

Elephant herd gather to drink at Addo Elephant park

A herd of elephants enjoying a sundowner at Addo Elephant Park, South Africa

One of South Africa’s most scenic national parks with rolling green hills and lush, evergreen forest make this a perfect year-round malaria-free safari destination. Addo Elephant Park is home to around 500 elephants roaming freely across the 125,000-hectare reserve; the greatest density of elephants per square kilometer in Africa.

Other wildlife includes the rest of the big five, zebra, kudu , red hartebeest, over 400 bird species, and the endemic, protected flightless dung beetle . The park extends to the coast where South Africa’s second-largest African penguin colony can be seen, and sightings of whales, great white sharks, and southern right whales are common.

Accommodation around Addo: There’s a good choice of accommodation in and around the park, from luxury lodges and forest cabins and chalets to pitched tents or camping spots. Find prices & book >>

2. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Male lion strolling through Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

A male lion strolls the bush of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Big 5 destination Kwandwe Private Game Reserve covers 54,000 acres of private wilderness area. The reserve includes 30 kilometers of the Great Fish River, meaning a diverse landscape and varied wildlife sightings.

The reserve has some great family-friendly safari options offering child-focused wildlife activities such as making plaster casts of animal footprints and visits to animal orphanages, to help make your South African family safari more meaningful.

Accommodation at Kwandwe: There are four properties in the reserve with 22 beds in total, meaning not too many other people or safari trucks around when you’re doing your game drives. Melton Manor and Uplands Homestead are exclusive-use lodges for families or small groups. Find prices & book >>

3. Samara Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Eland herd in long grass looking at camera

A herd of Eland at Samara, South Africa, looking for danger

Set amongst wildlife-rich rivers, mountains, and open plains, luxury private game reserve Samara offers guests some of the most breath-taking landscapes in South Africa.

Home to a very successful cheetah regeneration program, the reserve gives a good chance of spotting these beautiful cats, alongside the big 5 and large herds of eland.

Accommodation at Samara: Samara offers two exclusive onsite lodges – the Karoo Lodge and Manor House. Find prices & book >>

4. Amakhala Game Reserve, South Africa

Safari jeep on a game drive with two giraffes approaching

Giraffe-spotting on a game drive

The Amakhala Game Reserve is an 18,000-acre joint conservation effort where a former farming area has been rewilded. Wildlife likely to be encountered on game drives in the reserve includes the big five, as well as cheetah , giraffe , zebra, wildebeest, and plenty of antelope species.

Accommodation options: There are 10 owner-managed properties across the reserve, ranging from restored country homes to tented camps, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

An all-inclusive safari experience and a range of wildlife-focused activities are offered at each property. Find prices & book >>

5. Kariega Game Reserve, South Africa

Three safari lodges at Kariega semi-hidden in the bushveld

Three luxury safari lodges at Kariega, South Africa

Kariega is a family-owned and run big five reserve incorporating 10,000 hectares of pristine African wilderness and two large rivers – the Kariega and the Bushmans rivers – giving access to the sea.

The reserve offers abundant game viewing, and in addition to the big 5, game to spot at Kariega includes hippo, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck and a variety of other antelope, as well as a myriad of bird species.

Kariega is a particularly family-friendly game lodge offering a daily children’s programme at the Kids on Safari center.

Accommodation at Kariega Game Reserve: The reserve offers five safari lodges at a variety of price points, though all are at the high end, with quality and service to match. Find prices & book >>

6. Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa

Exterior shot of thatched lodge at Shamwari, view across the lake

One of Shamwari’s waterside lodges

Big five reserve Shamwari prides itself on being both friendly (the name means “my friend” in Shona), and child-friendly.

Childminding services are available on request, along with a host of kid-specific activities to keep them occupied – including the conservation focused ‘Kids on Safari’ program.

What’s particularly nice (and somewhat unusual) about Shamwari for young families is that children from four upwards are permitted on game drives. Just a 2 hour drive from Port Elizabeth, Shamwari is easily accessible.

Accommodation options: Shamwari has seven lodges and one explorer camp, each with a distinct vibe. From exclusive tranquillity, effortless family enjoyment, or the back-to-nature appeal of a luxury tented camp. Find prices & book >>

South Africa’s Northern Cape

South Africa’s Northern Cape offers tranquility and huge open spaces with some of the largest national parks in Africa. The legendary Kalahari Desert makes up a large portion of the Northern Cape, with the Gariep River winding to the Atlantic and providing a water source to the varied wildlife in the region.

7. Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve, South Africa

Swimming pool at sunset, with mountains in background.

The pool area at Tswalu, South Africa

Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa – 100,000 hectares located in the Southern Kalahari, close to the Botswana border. Although the reserve is huge, visitor numbers are kept to just 30 at a time, with all guests enjoying a private guided experience to optimise their time there.

Aside from the excellent game drives, activities include horse riding, habituated meerkat colony walks, sleep-outs under the stars, and black rhino walking safaris. Children of all ages are welcome, and for families, Tswalu makes for a truly unique and memorable (malaria-free!) safari experience.

Accommodation options: Accommodation is luxurious with a choice of two lodges, the secluded Tarkuni (a private home with 5 suites), and The Motse (a spacious lodge with nine suites). Find prices & book >>

8. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Clumps of light green grass growing from orange sand desert

Desert scenery at Kgalagadi National Park, South Africa

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of Southern Africa’s largest and is shared between both Botswana and South Africa.

Wildlife includes some of the largest lions and antelope in the world, plus leopard, cheetah, and both brown and spotted hyenas – along with plenty of meerkat colony activity! Self-drive safaris are very much on offer in this park, making for flexible and self-paced game drives.

Accommodation options: There are three rest camps in the park with a range of accommodation types to suit a variety of tastes and budgets including, chalets, family chalets, and campsites. Find prices & book >>

9. Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, South Africa and Namibia

Family of 6 zebras on the horizon with blue sky behind

A zebra family at Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park

Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park is a beautiful desert park on South Africa’s far northern border with Namibia. The landscape is barren at first glance, but on closer inspection, home to an abundance of wildlife adapted to the harsh terrain.

With some good luck over 50 species of mammals – including leopard, hyena, and zebras – lizards, tortoises, scorpions and 200 species of birds can be spotted!

Accommodation options: SANParks run a handful of basic rest camps across the park, some with cabins and others with campsites only. You’ll need to bring your own supplies and drinking water. Find prices & book >>

South Africa’s North West Province

One of South Africa’s smallest provinces, the North West Province is bordered by Botswana to the north and is made up of scattered trees and grassland, providing the ideal habitat for a big 5 South African safari.

10. Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

safari lodge exterior at sunset, with view over green mountains

Views of the bush from a Madikwe balcony

Located on the Botswana border a 3.5-hour drive from Johannesburg, Madikwe is a wild and remote reserve that’s home to the big five, and is famous for its thriving population of wild dog, as well as gemsbok, springbok, zebra, giraffe and over 340 species of birds.

Accommodation options: The reserve has a large selection of camps and lodges, including the lovely Jaci’s Lodges, Mateya Safari Lodge, Madikwe Safari Lodge, and Little Madikwe Hills. Find prices & book >>

The Waterburg Region, Limpopo Province, South Africa

The Waterberg Region is a malaria-free district of Limpopo Province, in an area teeming with wildlife, spectacular scenery, and many private game reserves with excellent accommodation offering truly intimate safari experiences. Here’s our pick of the best:

11. The Ant Collection, South Africa

Four horseriders approaching two giraffes on dusty road

Horseback safari at the Ant Collection, South Africa

Two family-owned and operated lodges – Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill – located in their own spectacular private game reserve. The reserve is a real haven for animals (over 40 species) and people looking for a wonderful, malaria-free safari. As well as game drives, there’s horse riding, elephant safaris, and swimming available, amongst other activities.

Accommodation options: The Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill offer very family-friendly, luxurious accommodation that is intimate and homely. Find prices & book >>

1 2. Entabeni Safari Conservancy, South Africa

rhinos grazing in sunshine in front of rocky outcrop

Three of Entabeni’s rhinos grazing in front of a signature rocky outcrop

Entabeni means ‘place of the mountain’, a private reserve spread over five ecosystems including wetlands, grass plains, craggy escarpments, and cliffs. Large animals such as elephants and rhinos are plentiful, along with leopards, cheetahs, and buffalo.

There’s a choice of activities other than game drives to keep you entertained, such as bush walks, sunset lake cruises, horse riding, and helicopter air safaris. Children are welcomed but must be six or over to join a game drive.

Accommodation options: Lodging includes Lakeside Lodge on the shores of Lake Entabeni and Wildside Safari Camp. Find prices & book >>

13. Jembisa Bush Home, South Africa

View through forested valley to horizon

Forest views at Jembisa, South Africa

Multi-award winning Jembisa is a stylish bush home in its own private wildlife reserve, offering a unique safari experience in the beautiful Palala River wilderness. There’s a plethora of wildlife (though no elephant or lion from the big five, which can be viewed on an off-site excursion), and a wide range of wildlife and safari activities (mountain biking, river walks, and tracking classes) that are flexible to suit all ages and interests.

Accommodation options: Jembissa Bush Home has a colonial safari atmosphere with excellent staff and guides providing a flexible, family-friendly bush experience. Find prices & book >>

14. Leobo Private Reserve, South Africa

View from safari lodge interior to green forest beyond

Bush views from open lounge area at the Leobo lodge

Leobo Private Reserve  is encompassed by rugged rocks, mountains, bushveld savannah, rivers, gorges, and an abundance of wildlife, and is one of only a handful of sole-use private reserves in Africa – allowing guests full access to the entire estate and all its facilities. Teeming with plains game, as well as hippo, there’s also a wide array of activities for all ages including paintballing, quad bikes, shooting, fishing, and more.

Accommodation options: The lodge has luxury 9 chalets with views over the Palala valley – and a stunning swimming pool built into the side of the mountain. It’s fully staffed and rented exclusively, so is perfect for families or groups of friends. Find prices & book >>

15. Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, South Africa

Exterior of mabalingwe lodge on rocky outcrop

Main Mabalingwe lodge at sunset

The Mabalingwe biome , made up of 8,500 hectares of bushveld, provides wonderful game-viewing opportunities year-round. The reserve is very family-friendly, and the rolling grasslands make game-viewing a breeze. Home to the big five, and also hippo, giraffe, hyena, and sable, the reserve has a variety of family and child-friendly activities to go alongside their day and night game drives.

Accommodation options: There are many types of accommodation available including chalets, campsites, and bush lodges. Find prices & book >>

16. Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Low flying hot air balloon over bushland in blue sky

Hot air ballooning over Pilanesberg National Park

A beautiful 50,000-hectare malaria-free national park just a few hours’ drive north-west from Johannesburg. Centered around an extinct volcano crater, its setting is unique and home to the big five along with plenty of other game. You can choose between a self-drive safari and DIY accommodation, or private lodge safari. Either way, the Pilanesberg National Park is a mesmerizing location to take advantage of hot air balloon safaris over the bush at dawn.

Accommodation options: Due to its location near Sun City, there’s a huge range of accommodation options in and around Pilanesberg to suit all tastes and budgets. Find prices & book >>

17. Welgevonden Game Reserve & Marakele National Park, South Africa

elephant drinking from swimming pool at luxury safari lodge

Drinks time at Welgevenden’s pool area

Adjoining areas Welgevonden Game Reserve  and Marakele National Park are in the process of removing their fences to allow the game to roam in a larger area. Both parks are home to the big five, as well as 30 more mammal species and over 250 species of birds. Marakele is more for intrepid safari-goers than luxury safari seekers – you’ll definitely need your own four-wheel-drive car, whilst Welgevonden as a private game reserve has a focus on high-end luxury.

Accommodation options: Are plentiful and varied inside the reserve, with a host of luxurious and extremely hospitable lodges and camps to choose from. Find prices & book >>

Malaria Free Safari Destinations in Namibia

Malaria is prevalent in eastern and northern Namibia from November to June, but from July to September there’s no malaria risk in Namibia’s northern regions of Etosha or Damaraland.  This means that with the right timing, it’s possible to visit two of Namibia’s standout safari destinations with the guarantee of no malaria. Further south in Namibia the Namib-Naukluft National Park is malaria-free year-round.

18. Etosha National Park

A group of Etoshas huge elephants enjoying the blue skies and shallow waters

An encounter with Etosha’s huge elephants

Whilst you’ll need to time your trip to Etosha between July and September to ensure a malaria-free safari, these are also the dry months with water sources drying up and wildlife congregating around waterholes – making it an excellent time to spot game. The white salt pan makes for a dramatic game-viewing backdrop, and along the pan’s southern edge is a collection of waterholes that are a magnet for wildlife. Common sightings are herds of zebra and huge elephants, rhinos and giraffe, with the big five all present. Read more about Etosha National Park .

Accommodation options in Etosha: There are three main camps in Etosha giving a range of options –  from great camping facilities to mid-range chalets and a few high-end bungalows. Close to the main gates of the park, there is also a range of mid-range accommodation options and full-on luxury lodge-type nature reserves such as Onguma. Find prices & book >>

19. Damaraland

elephants congregating around a large watering hole at a rosy dusk

Elephants congregating around a large watering hole in Damaraland

One of Namibia’s lesser-known gems, Damaraland is a dry, mountainous region in northern Namibia with desert-adapted wildlife including elephant, rhino, giraffe, and lion wandering the fenceless terrain.  Seeing wildlife in this beautifully stark environment is a thrilling addition to any safari, and combines well with time in nearby Etosha National Park.

Accommodation options in Etosha: Damaraland is a large area with a handful of luxurious lodges dotted around. Find prices & book >>

20. Sossusvlei

Huge red and orange sand dune rising above a flat salt pan in Namibia's Namib-Naukluft National Park

The orange dunes of Sossusvlei sand dunes in Namibia’s Namib-Naukluft National Park

At first glance, Sossusvlei and the surrounding Namib-Naukluft National Park seems like a lifeless pan in the south of Namibia. Aside from the shape-shifting red sand dunes and nearby photographer’s dreams of Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon, there’s actually lots of wildlife on view across the park. Namib-Naukluft provides sanctuary to large mammals such as the black rhino and herds of gemsbok, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, springbok, ostrich and giraffe, and to predators such as spotted and brown hyena, leopard and cheetah.

Accommodation options in Sossusvlei: The only accommodation in the park comes in the form of several campsites in the north, though with minimal facilities – you’ll need to be 100% self-sufficient, with firewood, water, and food. There are plenty of accommodation options around the fringes, particularly Sesriem, which is the best base for trips to Sossusvlei. Find prices & book >>

Map of where to enjoy malaria free safaris

That’s our pick of the very best malaria-free safari options in Africa. Are there any other parks or game reserves you would add to this list? Please let us know in the comments section below!

Top countries for safaris

  • Botswana safaris
  • Kenya safaris
  • Namibia safaris
  • South Africa safaris
  • Tanzania safaris
  • Uganda safaris

Safari basics

  • Safari animals
  • How to find the right safari company
  • When to go on safari
  • What to take on safari
  • Safari clothing – what to wear
  • Safari rules & etiquette
  • Wildlife spotting tips

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  • The world’s ugliest animals
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Africa’s best game reserves

  • Chobe National Park, Botswana
  • Etosha National Park, Namibia
  • Kruger National Park, South Africa
  • Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
  • Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
  • Okavango Delta, Botswana
  • Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Malaria Free Safaris in Africa

malaria free safari in africa

Malaria-free safaris do exist in Africa; they can be found in several ecologically diverse regions of South Africa . If you want to see the Big Five without worrying about taking malaria pills (prophylactics) or other precautions, there are plenty of options available.

Why Choose a Malaria-Free Safari?

Malaria-free safaris are an excellent option if you're traveling with children, if you're elderly, if you're pregnant, or in any way unable to take anti-malaria medication. For some people, even the idea of catching malaria is enough to put them off a trip to Africa. If that's the case, you'll be happy to know you can enjoy an African safari without running a million miles upon seeing a mosquito.

Malaria Free Safaris in South Africa

There are many areas in South Africa that are malaria-free and can offer world-class safari experiences . While some of South Africa's best game parks are unfortunately not in the malaria-free zone (like Kruger National Park and others in the Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal regions) many private game reserves have set up in the Eastern Cape area, Madwikwe, Pilanesberg, and the Waterberg area. These reserves have successfully relocated a large number of animals and besides the Big Five you can also see rare mammals like cheetah and wild dogs.

The Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape region is very popular since you can combine a safari with a visit to Cape Town . Some of the best Game Parks in this region are along the Garden Route and include:

  • Kwandwe Game Reserve -- Three lodges provide excellent accommodation in this large private game reserve near Grahamstown. Day and night drives are available to view the numerous lion, cheetah, rhino, elephant, hippo, and leopard in the park. Bush walks, canoeing and fishing are also activities you can enjoy. Children are welcome but the recommended age to enjoy a safari here is 6 and over.
  • Addo Elephant National Park -- Soon to be one of the largest national parks in South Africa, Addo offers the visitor not only the Big Five but sightings of whales and great white sharks as well. Situated just north of Port Elizabeth, Addo is home to several luxury lodges as well as the Addo Main Rest Camp which provides more budget style accommodation; chalets, tents, and rondavels. Hiking, horse riding are also popular activities besides safari drives (which you can do in your own vehicle ). Children under 6 are not allowed on drives organized by the park.
  • Shamwari Game Reserve -- Situated along the Bushman's River, Shamwari is a private, family-owned game reserve which offers visitors a chance to see the Big Five and much more. Lodges are luxurious and game drives and meals are included with the package. You can enjoy a spa, daily game drives, bush walks and if you fall in love, you can come back and volunteer to help protect the parks' animals.
  • Amakhala Game Reserve -- Formerly farmland, the family-owned Amakhala game Reserve is now home to Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra and numerous other antelope. Situated just east of Port Elizabeth, Amakhala offers game drives and a variety of very comfortable lodges . Day visits are easily accommodated as are children over the age of 6.
  • Kariega Game Reserve -- Situated along the Kariega River the game reserve offers canoeing safaris, fishing, a river cruise and more besides the excellent game drives. The wildlife is abundant and the lodges are luxurious with outdoor pools and decks. A minimum of least 2 nights are recommended at the Kariega Game Reserve to enjoy the activities on offer.

Because the Garden Route is so popular, many packages will combine a few days in a game park, with a visit to the beach and other highlights of the area.

  • Safari Packages from locally based tour operators .
  • Safari Guide Africa has a great list of packages and deals for malaria-free and family-friendly safaris .
  • Rhino Africa offers several safari packages on their own or in combination with the Garden Route.
  • Travel Butlers offers specials on nearly every safari available in the Eastern Cape area.

Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe is in the north of South Africa's North West province on the edge of the great Kalahari Desert, bordering Botswana . Madikwe used to be private farmland but with the successful relocation of more than 8000 animals ( Operation Phoenix ) in the 1990's, Madikwe is now winning awards as a conservation success story.

The best way to get to Madikwe is either by charter flight or car from Johannesburg (3.5 hours) and Gaborone in Botswana (1 hour). A popular add-on for visitors to Madikwe includes a trip to Victoria Falls (but the Falls are not in a malaria-free zone!) and some of Botswana's fine National Parks.

Madikwe is home to some truly wonderful private lodges and camps, some of the best are listed below. Note that visitors cannot enter the park without staying at one of the lodges. The lodges are luxurious, but with favorable exchange rates you may be pleasantly surprised with what you can afford.

Best Lodging in Madiwke includes:

  • Jaci's Tree Lodge is a perfect choice for families since the 8 rooms are actually tree houses built around a giant Leadwood tree. There are outdoor jungle showers as well as en-suite bathrooms. Raised wooden walkways lead to a restaurant and bar.
  • Madikwe Safari Lodge is situated in the heart of the reserve and has nice sweeping views of the plains. The lodge is small, with 16 suites and is very family-friendly. A pizza oven and several plunge pools will certainly please the kids.
  • Madikwe River Lodge is beautifully situated on the Marico River in a riverine forest. There's a lodge with family rooms as well as 16 chalets. Children of all ages are welcome.
  • Thakadu River Camp is a community owned luxury tented camp that is very child-friendly. A lovely swimming pool overlooks the Marico River. Each tent has its own private viewing deck.
  • Etali Safari Lodge is very luxurious and intimate with just 8 suites available, each with its own private sundeck and whirlpool.

Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Pilanesberg  is a beautiful Game Reserve situated on the remains of an extinct volcano crater near  Sun City  (a big holiday resort). Pilanesberg was created as a reserve in the late 1970's and now boasts the  Big Five  and many other animals courtesy of a vast wildlife relocation project. Just a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg, this park is very accessible and is popular with local South African families escaping the city.

Pilanesberg is an excellent option for day trips especially if you're enjoying Sun City. The park isn't huge, but the vegetation is incredibly varied and the landscape is lush and beautiful. You can choose from a traditional safari drive, hot air ballooning or  walking safaris . Pilanesberg's lodges include the  Ivory Tree Game Lodge ,  Tshukudu ,  Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge  and the Bakubung Bush Lodge.

Pilanesberg is ideal for a  self-drive  safari; the roads aren't paved but they are in good condition. Just outside the park gates are a couple of options for less pricey accommodation with swimming pools and playgrounds for the children. They include the  Bakgatala Resort  which offers chalets and tents. The  Manyane Resort  also offers a variety of accommodation including campsites, chalets and caravan sites and is very family-friendly.

Recommended Safari Packages for Pilanesberg:

  • Family Safari from CC Africa which includes Madikwe.
  • Madiwke Safari packages from Wildlife Africa.
  • Discounted rates on Madikwe accommodation from Madikwe Info.
  • 2 night Pilanesberg packages  from Wildlife Africa.
  • Day Tours to Pilanesburg  from Johannesburg from Go Safari.
  • Day trips, and 2 nights in Pilanesberg  at all lodges from local tour operator, Adventure Travel Africa.

The Waterberg Area

The Waterberg area is in South Africa's Limpopo Province north of Johannesburg. Most of the parks and lodges listed below are no more than a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg. The Waterberg area is malaria-free and filled to the brim with private and national game parks. Most of the reserves in this area have been stocked full of game and offer beautiful mountainous landscapes as well as Big Five viewing and incredible birdlife.

Entabeni Game Reserve

Entabeni is a private reserve and boasts no less than 5 eco-systems including wetlands, craggy escarpments, grass plains and cliffs. In Entabeni you can enjoy guided game drives, bush walks, sunset cruises on the lake, horse riding and helicopter air safaris. Entabeni is an all-inclusive safari reserve, meals and game drives are included in the price, so you will not be driving your own car around once you're in the reserve. Children under 6 are not allowed on game drives.

Lodging includes Lakeside Lodge on the shores of Lake Entabeni and  Wildside Safari Camp .

Welgevonden Game Reserve Welgevonden is popular with weekenders from Johannesburg looking for some peace and tranquility in the beautiful South African bush. The Big Five are here as well as 30 more mammal species and over 250 species of birds. Welgevonden borders Marakele National Park and the two parks will soon remove their fences so game will be free to roam in a larger area. Accommodation is plentiful and varied inside the reserve. You can choose from the luxurious  Sediba Game Lodge ,  Makweti Safari Lodge , or the  Nungubane Lodge  to name a few.

Marakele National Park Marakele is set in the middle of the Waterberg region with beautiful mountains as backdrop. Marakele means "sanctuary" in the local Tswana language, and it's certainly peaceful. All the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats as well as an amazing variety of birds can be seen here. Marakele is not going to provide you with a luxury safari experience; it's for the more intrepid safari goers. You need your own car and be warned that some of the roads are definitely only accessible to a four-wheel drive vehicle. Accommodation consists of two campsites, Tlopi Tented Camp which has furnished tents and Bontle camping site where you bring your own.

The Ant's Nest and Ant's Hill Private Game Lodges The Ant's Nest  and  Ant's Hill  offer very family friendly, luxurious accommodation. This private reserve is a real haven both for animals (over 40 species) and people looking for a wonderful vacation. Apart from game drives, there's horse riding, elephant safaris, curio shopping, swimming and more.

Mabalingwe Nature Reserve Mabalingwe is home to the big 5, and also hippo, giraffe, hyena, and sable. There are many types of accommodation available including chalets, campsites, and bush lodges. The reserve is very family-friendly, and the rolling grasslands make game-viewing a breeze.

The luxurious  Itaga Private Game Lodge  offers five-star accommodations in 8 African themed chalets and fine dining. Game drives are organized in open 4x4 vehicles with an experienced ranger.

Kololo Game Reserve Kololo is a small reserve with rolling grasslands supporting many species of antelope including impala, kudu, and wildebeest. You won't see the Big Five here, but it's easy to drive to the other parks nearby (Welgevonden for example) and see it all.  Lodging  includes a variety of chalets and camps.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve - Northern Cape Province

Tswalu is situated in the  Northern Cape Province  and is home to more than 70 species of mammal. Privately owned and operated by a local mining family (the Oppenheimers) Tswalu is still a conservation work in progress, but what is there already can offer the visitor a really wonderful African safari experience. Accommodation is luxurious and you can choose from two lodges, the secluded  Tarkuni  and The Motse. Children of all ages are welcome. The best way to get to Tswalu is to fly in.

A note about malaria

Malaria's reputation as a killer disease is certainly earned, but the mortality figures are mainly a reflection of inadequate health care in Africa. The vast majority of tourists who get malaria recover completely since they have access to medicine and doctors, clean water and food. Malaria can also be avoided with the right precautions ...  more about avoiding malaria.

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Top 8 Best Malaria-free Game Reserves in South Africa

Top 8 Best Malaria-free Game Reserves in South Africa

Harriet is a zoologist with more than 20 years’ experience. She has the privilege of working with the world’s top wildlife photographers and photo-guides.

One of the big advantages of traveling to South Africa, compared to other African safari destinations, is that a number of game reserves where you can see the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) are in malaria-free areas. This is fantastic if you’re traveling with small children or want to avoid taking antimalarial medication.

Key areas to look at are the Eastern Cape (handy if you want to combine a safari with the Garden Route), Pilanesberg Game Reserve (only a couple of hours’ drive from Johannesburg) and Madikwe Game Reserve (a four- to five-hour drive or one-hour flight from Johannesburg). If your budget allows it, also consider Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve in the far northwest. Below are our recommendations for the best malaria-free game reserves in South Africa.

144 Malaria-free Safaris

1. Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Game Reserve- One of the best malaria free game reserves in South Africa

Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the best malaria-free parks in South Africa. It offers a classic Big Five safari experience, and it also has a great reputation for wild dog and cheetah sightings. It should be noted that leopards are more difficult to see here than in the Greater Kruger reserves. Although Madikwe is state-owned, it is privately run, which means you can’t self-drive and you need to stay in one of its all-inclusive lodges. In addition to the usual game drives, there are night drives and walking safaris.

The safari vehicles can travel off-road in the reserve, which hugely enhances the quality of sightings. Madikwe offers the most consistent wildlife viewing of the malaria-free reserves, and with its classic bushveld terrain, it really feels like you’re on safari. There are a variety of upmarket lodges to choose from, with some that specialize in catering for children. Madikwe is a four- to five-hour drive from Johannesburg. Or you can fly in, although this can be expensive (especially for a family).

25 Madikwe Safaris

2. Pilanesberg Game Reserve

One of the best malaria free game reserves in South Africa

Set in an ancient volcanic crater, Pilanesberg Game Reserve is one of the most beautiful malaria-free safari parks in South Africa. It is less than three hours’ drive from Johannesburg, making it a great add-on to other destinations. The Big Five are all present, and you should encounter plenty of elephants and white rhinos. You will need a bit of luck to see big cats, but brown hyenas are possible on night drives.

Pilanesberg is also a good bird-watching destination, with more than 300 species on its checklist. There are a number of hides where you can get out of your car, and these provide great opportunities for bird and wildlife photography.

Pilanesberg does not feel as wild as some of South Africa’s bigger reserves, and it can get very busy with day-trippers from the neighboring Sun City resort complex. However, it makes for a great short trip from Johannesburg. There is a variety of lodges as well as self-catering options, and you can self-drive or go on organized game drives.

82 Pilanesberg Safaris

3. Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari Game Reserve - One of the best malaria free game reserves in South Africa

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is one of the most popular reserves in the Eastern Cape. It is a family-owned reserve that gives visitors the opportunity to combine the safari experience with luxury accommodations. Shamwari is home to the Big Five and offers excellent wildlife viewing with knowledgeable guides. It has six luxury lodges, two of which specifically cater for families. This malaria-free reserve is 100km/62mi from Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and is easy to combine with a Garden Route vacation.

Shamwari offers guests the chance to learn more about its conservation efforts and visit its Rhino Education Centre and Born Free Big Cat Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. There are also a number of interesting volunteering programs.

Shamwari Safaris

4. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Kwande Game Reserve - One of the best malaria free game reserves in South Africa

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is one of the newest private malaria-free safari parks in South Africa. Like Shamwari, it is in the Eastern Cape and home to the Big Five. Kwandwe covers 220km²/85mi² of picturesque hills and valleys stretching either side of the Great Fish River. Formerly farmland, it has now been restocked with wildlife. However, the wildlife can be skittish as it isn’t as used to human presence yet as in some other private reserves. Kwandwe is renowned for the opportunity to see black rhino and, if you’re lucky, cheetah.

Kwandwe has four luxury lodges, two catering for couples and two specializing in families. It is just a two-hour drive from Gqeberha, so it can easily be combined with a holiday exploring the Garden Route.

Kwandwe Safaris

5. Marakele National Park

Marakele National Park - One of the best malaria free game reserves in South Africa

Marakele National Park is a scenic malaria-free park in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, northwest of Johannesburg. The Waterberg is home to a number of upmarket private game reserves and safari lodges, in addition to Marakele. Marakele is a relatively new national park, and you can self-drive and camp or stay in self-catering accommodations here. One of our favorite places to stay is Tlopi Tented Camp, overlooking a dam where elephants come to bathe.

Marakele is in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, with truly beautiful scenery comprising grassy valleys and red cliffs. The park is divided into two sections. The first section contains easy-to-drive gravel roads where you might see white rhino. The second section feels wilder and access is controlled with a gate. Visitors must not miss the drive to the mountaintop viewpoint, where you can watch endangered Cape vultures soaring on the thermals. It is relatively easy to spot both black and white rhino in Marakele, but do not come here expecting to see predators.

Marakele Safaris

6. Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve

Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve - One of the best malaria free game reserves in South Africa

Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve is based at the foot of the Sneeuberg mountain range in the malaria-free Karoo, outside the town of Graaff-Reinet. The reserve is home to white rhino, buffalo, cheetah and the rare mountain zebra. There are plans to introduce elephant and lion sometime soon. Accommodations are in three beautifully restored, gabled manor houses and two luxury safari tents.

In addition to game drives and bush walks, the reserve offers cheetah tracking, scenic helicopter flights and stargazing. Informative talks take place at historical Boer War sites on the property. Mount Camdeboo is a three-hour drive inland from Gqeberha or can be accessed via the airstrip at Graaff-Reinet.

7. Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve

Tswalu Private Game Reserve - One of the best malaria free game reserves in South Africa

For a totally different experience of a malaria-free game reserve in South Africa, if your budget allows it, visit Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve. The country’s largest private game reserve, Tswalu is situated in the vast, pristine wilderness of the southern Kalahari. It is famed for its rare and extraordinary wildlife. Here you can see the magnificent black-maned lions and African wild dogs, encounter habituated meerkats, and look for pangolins and aardvark in the winter months.

Tswalu provides an exclusive, five-star safari experience and you are allocated your own game-drive vehicle, guide and tracker. In addition to game drives, Tswalu offers walking safaris and horseback riding. You can also enjoy wine tastings, champagne breakfasts, dune picnics and luxury spa treatments.

8. Samara Private Game Reserve

The Best Malaria Free Game Reserves in South Africa

Samara Private Game Reserve is a malaria-free luxury safari park in the Eastern Cape, close to Graaff-Reinet. The main lodge, the Manor House, is a beautiful old Karoo farmhouse surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery. Samara was one of the first reserves to pioneer cheetah tracking on foot. It is thrilling to go out with your guide and use the radio aerial to home in on approximately where the cheetahs are and then track them on foot.

The cheetahs, although used to humans, are wild and ignore you completely. It is amazing how close you can get without disturbing them. This makes for fantastic photography with the spectacular Karoo scenery as a backdrop. In winter, Samara also has a great reputation for sightings of aardvark, one of the most secretive and strangest African mammals.

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Malaria-Free Safaris

Malaria-free safaris in africa.

While malaria is easily preventable when travelling these days, some prefer to stick to malaria-free safaris in Africa. For example, it’s perfect for a  babymoon  or  families travelling  with young children and the elderly who might not want to take anti-malaria medication. 

Luckily, there are plenty of malaria-free destinations in Africa to choose from! And it also does not mean you have to sacrifice luxury and incredible  Big 5 safari  experiences. Most of the malaria-free safari lodges are also very easy to reach. We share some of our favourite destinations we like to suggest to our guests for a malaria-free safari. 

National parks and game reserves for a malaria-free safari in Africa

You might be wondering where in Africa you can go for a malaria-free safari. Well, it could surprise you how many options you have to choose from! Here are our top ones. 

Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa:  Located in the North West province, it’s famous for its African wild dogs and excellent Big 5 sightings. 

Tswalu Private Game Reserve, South Africa:  Home to rare species and a Michelin star chef-led restaurant in the southern Kalahari.

Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia:  Largest protected area in Namibia and home to the world’s oldest desert, the Namib.

Addo Elephant Park, South Africa:  Best known for its massive herds of elephants, conveniently located close to the Garden Route in the Eastern Cape.

Etosha National Park, Namibia:  Malaria-free during the dry winter months and a wildlife paradise.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa:  Big 5 safaris in a unique setting next to the Great Fish River in the Eastern Cape.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Botswana/South Africa:  One of only a few malaria-free options in Botswana.

Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa:  Family-friendly Big 5 safaris on the Garden Route.

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, South Africa:  Closest safari destination to Cape Town and home to free-roaming white lions.

Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa:  Found in the North West province, it’s the fourth-largest national park in the country.

Malaria-free safaris in South Africa

South Africa  is well-known for its many excellent malaria-free destinations. And they’re also very accessible. Here’s where to go if you want an exciting malaria-free safari in South Africa without compromising on the wildlife sightings or luxury. 

Madikwe Game Reserve

One of the best-known places for a malaria-free safari in South Africa,  Madikwe Game Reserve , is located in the North West province of the country. It’s also one of the largest game reserves in South Africa and offers fantastic Big 5 safaris and endangered African wild dog sightings. This is one of the best family-friendly reserves out there, and it’s easy to reach whether you choose the five-hour drive or one-hour flight from  Johannesburg . 

Tswalu Kalahari: Private Wildlife Reserve

As the largest private game reserve in South Africa, the next one on our list is a truly special place for many reasons.  Tswalu Private Game Reserve  is located in southern Kalahari and is easy to reach by road or air. It's home to a unique ecosystem and diverse wildlife, including rare and endangered species like the pangolin, aardvark, desert-adapted black rhino, black-maned lions, and more. Another reason why this is a favourite for malaria-free safaris in South Africa is the flexibility and access to your own safari vehicle, tracker, and guide. The activities are also endless, from horseback safaris, bush walks to visit the meerkat, picnics in the bush, or dining at the Michelin star chef restaurant, Klein Jan. 

Pilanesberg National Park

When looking for malaria-free safaris in South Africa, look no further than  Pilanesberg National Park . A Big 5 safari destination, you can also look forward to seeing sable antelope, brown hyenas, and the endangered African wild dog. Birders will also be delighted as it's home to over 350 bird species! For those history buffs, the Stone and Iron Age sites throughout the national park will offer intriguing insights into early humans' lives. There's plenty to do, from bush walks, game drives, and even hot air balloon rides. It's also accessible, located about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from O.R Tambo Airport in  Johannesburg . 

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Located in the Eastern Cape,  Kwandwe Private Game Reserve  offers Big 5 malaria-free safaris in South Africa. The name means “the place of the blue crane” in the Xhosa language, which is also South Africa's national bird. As the name suggests, you can marvel at the blue crane here, as well as enjoy exhilarating Big 5 safaris. You can also see other endangered species like the Knysna woodpecker, Cape grysbok, crowned eagle and black-footed cat. It's also one of the best safari destinations for families, with exclusive-use villas where families are entirely in control of their safari timetables. Furthermore, there's no minimum age restriction for children. When parents need a bit of a breather, childminders can also be arranged. It's very easy to reach Kwandwe, and the nearest airport is Port Elizabeth Airport, which is only about a two-hour drive from the reserve. 

Addo Elephant National Park and Surroundings

Addo Elephant National Park  is best known for its large population of elephants. However, this park has even more to offer! Not only is it South Africa's third-largest national park, but it's also the only national park in the world where you can see the Big 7. Yes, you read that right! The Big 7 is the Big 5 you know, with the addition of the great white shark and southern right whale. There are plenty of activities to entertain the whole family, including horseback riding, 4x4 rides, guided walks, game drives, and more. It's easy to reach Addo Elephant National Park, as Port Elizabeth Airport is only about a one-hour drive from the main gate.

Gondwana Game Reserve

Gondwana Game Reserve  is very easy to reach as it's a four-hour drive from Cape Town, located on the scenic  Garden Route . It's also a very family-friendly, malaria-free destination for a South African safari holiday. Home to the Big 5, as well as hippo, giraffe, zebra, cheetah, and many more, safaris are always exciting! You might even be able to see the endangered black rhino. Gondwana has plenty of nearby attractions to explore too, including seaside towns like  Knysna  and Mossel Bay, and there are many  golf courses  nearby. 

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve  offers a unique safari experience at the foot of the Warmwaterberg Mountains in the Little Karoo. The closest safari destination to  Cape Town , it's perfect for an add-on destination to your Southern African holiday. What truly makes Sanbona different is its wide variety of indigenous flora and fauna, San rock art, and applaudable conservation initiatives. You can look forward to seeing wildlife such as giraffes, leopards, rhinos, and elephants. Plus, it's home to free-roaming white lions! They also have family-friendly accommodation options and activities for the perfect family safari holiday in South Africa. 

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About that malaria-free safari

Avoiding malaria areas makes sense for that family safari - when you are travelling with very young children or the elderly. Although there are effective ways to significantly reduce the risk of contracting malaria, some travellers prefer to avoid malaria areas altogether

Some areas are low-risk throughout the year, and some are low-risk at certain times - but only a few are always non-malaria areas. The only non-malaria areas in Africa are in parts of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

Scroll past the safari packages below to find out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about malaria and where to go to avoid it.

The safaris below are in non-malaria areas

Everything you need to know about a malaria-free safari.

Malaria is a parasitic disease that attacks red blood cells and is usually spread by the female Anopheles mosquito.  Although the implications of being infected with malaria can be severe, the likelihood of tourists in Africa being infected is extremely low if the advice from our travel experts is followed and simple precautions are taken.

Despite what friends may tell you, malaria is present in most African safari destinations - the only exceptions being a handful of malaria-free places in South Africa and Namibia. Some places may be low-risk at times - for example, arid high-altitude areas outside of the rainy season - but few are truly malaria-free throughout the year. 

So, if you are looking for a guaranteed malaria-free African wildlife safari , this is where you will find it:

Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Madikwe is famous for excellent sightings of the Big 5 plus wild dogs (painted wolves), cheetahs and brown hyenas. This is an excellent family-friendly malaria-free safari option that is an easy 5-hour drive or 1-hour flight from Johannesburg, and there are many lodges options to suit most budgets. Whether you are after a malaria-free option or not, the 750km 2 (75,000 hectares) Madikwe is a prime safari destination that is not accessible by day-trippers and self-drive tourists.

Read more about Madikwe here and about a child’s Madikwe safari here .

Pilanesburg National Park, South Africa

The 572km 2 (57,200 hectares) malaria-free Pilanesburg offers Big 5 wildlife sightings a mere 2,5-hour drive from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg. Because the habitat is a transition zone between Kalahari and Lowveld you will see a wide variety of other species, including wild dogs, cheetahs and brown hyenas. Pilanesburg is open to day-trippers and self-drive tourists, so sightings can be crowded during peak seasons. 

Cape malaria-free safaris, South Africa

 Cape malaria-free wildlife safaris are a convenient link between two of South Africa’s prime tourism destinations - Cape Town and the Garden Route . 

Western Cape, South Africa

The Western Cape offers a range of wildlife safari options in both national parks and private game reserves. Because of a Mediterranean climate, the ecosystems and wildlife species are very different to those of the bushveld further east in South Africa. Safari destinations include

Karoo National Park

Karoo National Park is an arid 750km² (75,000 hectares) landscape that hosts black rhinos, lions and an assortment of other rare and critically endangered creatures like the Cape mountain zebra and the riverine rabbit (one of the most endangered mammals in the world). Karoo NP is a comfortable 5-hour drive on a good tar national road from Cape Town.   

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

The 580km² (58,000 hectares) Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is one of the world’s largest privately owned game reserves. This rehabilitated farmland hosts the Big 5 plus cheetahs and brown hyenas and is a convenient 3-hour drive from Cape Town. 

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa - and surrounding private reserves

The greater Addo ecosystem offers an astonishing variety of wildlife encounters for your malaria-free, including the Big 5 plus dolphins and whales, making up the ‘Big 7’. This 1,640km² (164,000 hectares) covers five of South Africa’s eight vegetation zones - all within a comfortable one-hour drive on a good tar road from Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha. 

Kariega Private Game Reserve

Kariega Private Game Reserve is a family-owned 100km² (10,000 hectares) Big 5 malaria-free game reserve wedged between the Bushman's and Kariega Rivers - adding river cruises to possible safari activities. Kariega is less than two hours by good tar road from Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

A private Big 5 malaria-free reserve with a proud record of rehabilitation from farmland to restored wilderness, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve straddles the Great Fish River and covers 220km² (22,000 hectares). Kwandwe is two hours by road from Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

The 250km² (25,000 hectares) Big 5 (plus cheetahs) Shamwari shares many habitat similarities with Addo Elephant National Park. This malaria-free reserve is also home to a wildlife rehabilitation centre; no interaction with the animals is permitted as the end goal is to release the animals back into the wild whenever possible. Shamwari is a one-hour drive from Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha.

Samara Karoo Reserve

The 283km² (28,300 hectares) Big 5 malaria-free Samara is restoring a patch of wilderness and bringing wildlife back to the spectacular Great Karoo. Guests can expect sightings of white and black rhinos, elephants, lions, and herds of springbok, but tracking cheetahs on foot is one of the reserve's particular highlights. Read more about Samara here . Samara is a three-hour drive from Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha.

Northern Cape / Kalahari, South Africa

Tswalu Kalahari

The 1,140km² (114,000 hectares) Tswalu offers a luxurious wilderness experience on the southernmost edge of the Kalahari. This malaria-free private reserve is the largest private reserve in South Africa and hosts classic Kalahari species, such as black-maned lions, cheetahs, black rhinos, oryx and wild dogs to elusive nocturnal creatures, such as pangolin, aardvark and brown hyena. Aside from the usual safari activities, Tswalu offers horseback safaris, visiting a meerkat colony and Michelin star food.   

Western Namibia malaria-free safaris

Western Namibia is an arid sand desert region that hosts an astounding variety of desert-adapted species, such as lions, elephants and black rhinos. Must-see destinations in this malaria-free safari area include the Namib Naukluft National Park, Sussusvlei, Damaraland, Skeleton Coast National Park and the coastal cities of Swakopmund and Luderitz. Read more about Western Namibia here .

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Advice for when travelling to a malaria area 

Avoid being bitten

It’s impossible to avoid every single mosquito bite, no matter how diligent you are, but there are a few tips to avoid being bitten wherever possible:

travel during low-risk seasons – the dry and cool months;

use insect repellent;

cover legs and arms with long-sleeved shirts and trousers, particularly at night;

sleep under a mosquito net in an air-conditioned or well-screened room and, if possible, sleep with a fan on;

avoid standing water that may breed mosquitoes.

Preventative Prophylactics

There are several prophylaxis medications available, and many different factors should be considered in choosing an appropriate one. Most important is to follow the advice of a doctor, who should be up to date on personal medical history, as well as which medications are more effective for different strains of malaria.

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Malaria-Free Safaris in South Africa

Malaria-Free Safaris in South Africa

A care-free safari without malaria tablets.

Malaria is a sad reality in much of Africa and nothing is more important than your health, so it's really important that you understand the malarial risk of your safari destination well before you leave the country. This is especially true for families travelling with young children or those with pre-existing conditions.

No matter where you're heading, it's always best to consult your GP a few weeks before you jet off on your safari holiday.

Malaria Map of Southern and East Africa

In fact, South Africa is the ONLY country in Africa that can officially offer a fully malaria-free safari experience.

The other countries all carry a malarial risk, albeit small, such as the case of the Kenyan Highlands, and the risk tends to increase over the rainy seasons. This makes South Africa your best (and your only) bet.

Having said this, not every safari destination in South Africa is malaria-free so it's still important to choose your game reserve wisely. The assured malaria-free safari areas are the Eastern Cape , the Pilanesberg National Park and the Madikwe Game Reserve , the Waterberg (just 3 hours north of Johannesburg), and last but not least the Nambiti Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.

The great news is that all of these reserves offer wonderful wildlife viewing and superb safari experiences, so you won't need to compromise on quality to ensure a medication-free trip. Save Enquire Now  

South Africa's Eastern Cape

Tracking a leopard, malaria-free Shamwari Game Reserve.

Eastern Cape safaris are fully inclusive, so in addition to staying in a top notch lodge you'll receive delicious meals, sunrise and sunset game drives in a 4X4 vehicle and even an optional bush walk with an expert guide each day.

The Eastern Cape is also home to Addo Elephant National Park , one of the most scenic parks in South Africa. It's completely malaria-free with rolling hills that stretch into the horizon and lush, green forest. Even better, most of the vegetation is evergreen, so it's very beautiful throughout the year.

Not only this, but Addo is home to over 450 elephants, who roam freely across the 125,000 hectare reserve alongside the rare black rhino, zebra, kudu and red hartebeest, as well as over 400 bird species. And who could forget the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively to Addo!

Addo has the greatest density of elephant per square kilometre in Africa, so if you're passionate about these gentle, grey giants, there's literally nowhere better on earth. During an Addo safari, you're bound to catch some unforgettable moments as the elephants gather around the waterholes at sunset or cross the rivers in large herds at dawn. Save Enquire Now  

Cheetah in Madikwe

The Madikwe Private Game Reserve is a wild, remote paradise in the far north of South Africa that nestles against the border with Botswana.

Stretching across 76,000 hectares, it's one of the largest reserves in the country and it's completely malaria-free. In addition to the Big Five, Madikwe boasts a growing population of endangered wild dog, as well as gemsbok, springbok, zebra, giraffe and over 340 species of birds. Save Enquire Now  

Pilanesberg

Giraffe in Pilanesberg National Park.

The Pilanesberg National Park is a beautiful 50,000 hectare malaria-free reserve just a few hours from Johannesburg by road. Centred around an extinct volcano crater, its setting is totally unique and it's home to 7,000 animals including the all-important Big Five.

Here, you can choose between a self-drive safari or private lodge safari and, for a completely mesmerising experience, you can even take a hot air balloon flight over the bush at dawn. Save Enquire Now  

South Africa's Waterberg

Horse riding in the Waterberg area of South Africa.

Despite its proximity to the city, the Waterberg really does feel a million miles away from urban life, so you're guaranteed a real 'Out of Africa' feeling.

In addition to thrilling game drives and bush walks, you can also take horseback safaris through the bush - a truly exhilarating way to view the wildlife in its natural habitat. Save Enquire Now  

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A great thirst

Top tips for the best Malaria Free Safaris in South Africa

Mosquitoes, specifically the female of the species, are not really anybody’s best friend. Firstly, their high-pitched voices are not a great lullaby and, secondly, they can transmit malaria.

The last thing you want to experience halfway through your South African safari is a feverish headache, chills, and relentless vomiting … all symptoms of dreaded malaria.

Mosquito crossing

Stop the 4X4! Before you change your mind and rather spend your well-earned holiday with the in-laws in a remote region of the Arctic, the team here at African Budget Safaris has laid it all out for you in this blog – everything you need to know about a malaria-free safari adventure in South Africa, which is totally possible.

We’ve got all the latest info to help you negotiate a safe and healthy safari – if you travel on your own with a well-thumbed notebook, with your partner, the family (young and old) or friends, or on a guided safari tour – and it doesn’t even matter what your blood type is.

A bit about the bite

Before we answer the question, “ What does ‘malaria-free’ mean? ” let’s make a quick pit stop at malaria itself. The cause is a one-celled parasite known as a Plasmodium . (You may wipe this term from your memory banks after reading this section.)

Mosquito

Mrs Mozzie (it’s the female mosquito who’s the guilty party) picks up the parasite from infected people when she bites to obtain the blood needed to nurture her eggs. Inside the mosquito, the parasites go nuts – they reproduce and develop. When the mosquito bites again, the parasites contained in the salivary gland make a beeline for the blood of the person being bitten. Rest assured, it won’t be you if you simply follow our advice.

Malaria parasites multiply in the liver; next stop – the red blood cells of the infected person. One to two weeks – sometimes longer – after a person is infected, the first symptoms of malaria (as if you need a reminder) appear. That’s when it’s time to see the doctor, pronto. For a full malaria overview, check out our blog, Malaria Made Simple .

Before we scare you off, let’s stop there. There are numerous safari options in South Africa that are free of malaria. Let’s get into what you need to know to play it smart and safe before leaving home. We also recommend that you have a chat with your doctor before you hop on the plane.

First up then – are there South African safaris that are malaria-free?

Yes, South Africa has malaria-free safari game parks and so too do certain areas within the neighbouring countries, Namibia and southern Botswana (note, the swampy inland Okavango Delta is not malaria-free, neither is Etosha. It’s just the very dry, southern regions of the two countries). For more info on the exact areas, check out the WHO’s International Travel Guide , the CDC’s Yellow Book or chat with your local Travel Clinic).

Right, back to South Africa. If you want to enjoy a world-class safari experience, but don’t see yourself gulping down malaria prophylaxis tablets, there are many phenomenal game-viewing locations with none of the mosquitoes that carry the disease. This is reason enough for choosing a malaria-free safari.

Just chillin'

Now for a fact as sure as an African elephant has tusks: South Africa is the only country in the whole of Africa that can officially offer a complete malaria-free safari experience. The rest of Africa offers a malaria risk, even if it’s small – which increases during the rainy seasons.

So, before we shout it from the rooftops, just remember this: not every safari destination in South Africa is free from malaria. African Budget Safaris has your back, so we've put together a wonderful selection of assured malaria-free safari regions, void of any mozzies that carry the disease:

  • Eastern Cape
  • North West Province (including the Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve)
  • Waterberg District in the province of Limpopo
  • Northern Cape
  • Cape Town and surrounds – situated in the Western Cape Province

Reserves in these areas offer phenomenal game-viewing experiences, so you needn’t think you’re on the receiving end of sloppy seconds in the safari department by undertaking a malaria medication-free trip.

So, what does the description ‘malaria-free’ really mean?

According to the World Health Organization, it is an area where there is “no continuing local mosquito-borne malaria transmission and the risk of acquiring malaria is limited to introduced cases only”.

Malaria-free Eastern Cape Safaris

The Eastern Cape is rapidly becoming a safari-goers dream spot, with numerous wonderful game reserves to suit any budget, all of them free of malaria.

Zebra crossing

For the full story on the Eastern Cape and all it offers, take a look at our blog, See the Big 5 at the Eastern Cape’s Best Malaria Free Game Reserves . Here, we’ll just mention a couple because, well, they’re fabulous!

Addo Elephant National Park

As its name suggests, Addo is known for its huge elephant population, but it offers an all-round superb malaria-free safari experience, including the ‘Big 7’. The third biggest game park in South Africa , it’s home to the well-known five and – added bonus – two marine ‘biggies’, the great white shark and southern right whale.

Elephant family

Addo is an easy day trip from Port Elizabeth, but we’d recommend staying a night or two at one of the wide range of accommodation offers in the park. There’s nothing like going to sleep to the sounds of the bush. Some of the African Budget Safari tours that include Addo are:

  • Full-Day Addo Elephant Park Big 5 Safari
  • 3 Day Addo Elephant Park Safari
  • Lesotho & Drakensberg to Addo Overland Camping Safari

Amakhala offers up everything but mosquito bites

It’ll take you less than an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth’s national airport in the Eastern Cape, to arrive at another malaria-free Big 5 safari destination: Amakhala Game Reserve. The region is known as Frontier Country and the reserve is in an area called the Greater Addo.

Friends

Amakhala hosts five of the world’s six vegetation biomes, from bushveld to savannah, amidst 8 500 hectares of land. Cheetah, giraffe, zebra, black wildebeest and a heady number of antelope also rank amongst the diverse wildlife. Game drive activities are on offer with each overnight stay, but should you wish to experience the diverse reserve and not stay over, day safaris are an option.

The reserve offers a great variety of 3-, 4- and 5-star owner-managed experiences. Choose your preferred accommodation from a selection of ten luxury establishments consisting of restored country houses, safari lodges or tented camps.

In amongst the wildlife quenching their thirst at the river’s edge, the rare Cape Clawless Otter with its long grey-white whiskers might just hijack a photo op or two. Check out our  5 Day Addo Park & Amakhala Big 5 Safari .

Shamwari will have you swooning

Right, before you get down to the nuts and bolts of planning the next step of your South African safari experience, here’s another gem of a game reserve to consider visiting in the Eastern Cape, also malaria-free.

Nibbling rhino

Shamwari is regarded as the pinnacle of private game parks (and naturally home to the Big 5). Indulge in exclusive tranquillity and a real sense of harmony with nature. The reserve stretches languidly along the Bushman's river, halfway between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown. The Eastern Cape Province, being a malaria-free zone, makes Shamwari ideal for families with kids or elderly members, who might be vulnerable to illness.

The game drives the reserve offer are exceptional, most certainly the highlight of many a returning safari-goer. The team of personal game rangers has an intimate knowledge of the area – you’ll be taken directly to the best spots where the wildlife is prolific.

Malaria-free North West Safaris

The North-West and Limpopo provinces both border Gauteng, so are driveable from Johannesburg. For more close-to-Jozi parks, see our blog Best Game Reserves for Short Safaris near Johannesburg . Both provinces have a number of great game reserves, most of them malaria-free (excluding eastern Limpopo, in which the Kruger Park lies, which is malarial). Here, we list a few of them.

The largest Big 5 reserve within easy driving distance of Johannesburg (2 to 3 hours) is the Pilanesberg National Park, a 550 km 2  area. It’s situated in a transition ecological zone, between the dry Kalahari region and the wet Lowveld region, giving it diverse habitats and, therefore, wildlife.

Madikwe awaits

The Madikwe Game Reserve is in the North West Province, bordering Botswana near Gaborone and close to the Kalahari Desert, and only a 3.5-hour drive from the city of Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. It’s the country’s fifth-largest game reserve in a malaria-free zone – also known as the ‘Hidden Gem of Game Parks’ and widely regarded as one of the best conservation areas in Africa.

Here, the Big 5 roam about in the 750 km 2 (75 000 ha 2 ) park. Choose from several luxurious lodges dotted around the reserve – each offering a unique experience of this wildlife hotspot as well as authentic Community Lodges run by local villagers – you can expect fantastic views of the reserve – and the wonderful surprise of some of the wildlife grazing in close proximity! Mouth-watering meals prepared by trained chefs at many of these lodges ensure a feast of note, along with safari game drives hosted by experienced and characterful guides.

Running wild

Apart from spotting lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo, there is a thriving population of the highly endangered African wild dog in the reserve. Three hunting packs roam the area. You asked for an authentic African safari experience … well, you’ve got one!

The dogs are fascinating to observe. Initially, the pack will run around, sniff and play amongst each other. They’re a noisy bunch – belting out high-pitched chirps. An alpha male and female will be the first to set off, followed by the rest of the pack at a brisk trot, all tails a-flickering – only to slip into the bush for the hunt. Antelope usually fall prey, but they can also tackle much larger prey, such as wildebeest. The wild dogs will otherwise supplement their diet with birds and rodents.

Malaria-free Northern Cape Safaris

Namaqualand in spring

While relatively ‘off the beaten track’, as distances are large, the Northern Cape deserves a mention, not least for its spectacular flower season, when vast areas are a proliferation of colour, covered in wildflowers in spring, but also for its game parks including Tswalo, Mokala, and the spectacular Augrabies Falls Reserve.

Tswalu is another wonderful malaria-free safari destination

Welcome to the vast and mesmerizing Tswalu Kalahari with its magical vistas. ‘Space’ is the operative word here. The ‘Green Kalahari’ is a slice of nature offering a wonderful twist. The name ‘Kalahari’ is derived from the Tswana word Kgala , meaning The Great Thirst, or Kgalagadi , meaning The Waterless Place.

The southern Kalahari receives somewhat more rainfall than the central Kalahari. This is why it is often referred to as the ‘Green Kalahari’. Within the reaches of Tswalu lie the Korranaberg Mountains, a quartzite structure connected to the Olifantshoek Supergroup. The mountains form a basin that acts as a natural catchment area and with a healthy water table to boot, to support a fantastic array of wildlife.

Hello South Africa travel

This then is South Africa’s largest private game reserve. It’s malaria-free, so guests do not have to worry about popping anti-malaria tablets. It’s ideal for families on safari – they, in fact, welcome children and make every effort to make the little people’s safari experience endless fun under the African sun (pack sunscreen, Mom!).

Their game viewing is out of this world – offering sightings of some of the country’s rarest and most extraordinary wildlife. There are over 80 species of mammals and 240 species of birds (including endangered raptors), at Tswalu, which is also home to the elusive aardvark, aardwolf, pangolin and brown hyena. Because the land is so expansive, you’ll feel as if you’re the only people for hundreds of miles. No more standing on tiptoes, craning necks for a view of a beautiful Cape fox, warming up in the morning light or nudging the 4X4 towards the VIP spot to watch the wildlife descending on a watering hole.

Cheetah, South Africa safari

The San engraving sites at Tswalu have the most beautiful and advanced examples of the Green Kalahari’s early inhabitants. Detailed stories reflect the lives of these hunter-gatherers. The engravings on the hard rock were made with materials such as sharp stones and spears. It’s a fascinating link to an ancient time.

The philanthropic Oppenheimer family took the landscape under their wing in 1998. Because of their commitment to conservation, you, the safari-goer can marvel at the indigenous species that’ve been successfully re-introduced. The mantra here at Tswalu is, “ Leave the world better than how we found it. ” Very fitting.

Malaria-free safaris near Cape Town

We understand that Cape Town is a must-see – we choose to live here exactly for that reason! – so it’s sometimes a dilemma to decide how to squeeze a safari into a short holiday and include The Mother City.

Table Mountain safari

Timing and budget may not allow for the inclusion of the iconic Kruger Park. Fret not, there are several Big 5 reserves within a reasonable distance of The Mother City, which are suitable for day trips or longer. So much so, that we have two separate blogs for them:

  • Big Five Safaris Near Cape Town

Now to answer a couple of FAQs we get

Is the kruger national park malaria-free.

No, the Kruger National Park is not malaria-free. The following info comes straight from the Kruger’s HQ: during the months when the rain falls on the bushwillow vegetation in the south of the park and the great expanse of mopane veld in the north, there is an increased risk of malaria. When the rainy season wraps up in April, the risk of infection is low.

So, the recommendation is always there to take malaria prophylaxis when visiting the park. Incidentally, during the daytime, there is no risk of infection; the malaria mosquito is only active at night in those areas up to 600 m (1 967 ft) above sea level.

Family safari walk

There are various mosquito species in the park, but not every mosquito causes a transmittance when the host is bitten. So, let’s talk about probability. The chance of being stung by said mozzie is 1 in 24 000 – it’s low, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions. Note that 10% of all malaria cases occur because visitors have not taken the necessary preventative measures.

‘Protection’ is the operative word. Pack items of clothing that will hide your skin, such as safari pants that close around your ankles. When it’s dark, wear socks, even if it’s warm. You won’t get strange looks when you wear a hat at night. It helps! Rest assured, there are as many mosquito lamps in this premier game-viewing destination as there are rock dassies basking on boulders.

Can I visit game reserves in South Africa that aren’t malaria-free?

Yes, you can visit game reserves in South Africa that aren’t malaria-free, provided you take all the necessary precautions. Malaria is endemic in the game reserves situated in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and in Limpopo. In KwaZulu-Natal, it’s endemic on the Maputaland coast. These areas are in the north/northeast of South Africa . Our advice is to consult a healthcare professional for the latest on malaria prophylaxis as it changes quite often. The cities of Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town are all free from malaria and safe for safari travellers of all ages.

Mosquito nets

To recap: we’re happy to report that no anti-malaria drugs need to be taken in the following low-risk areas: North West Province and the Northern Cape along the Molopo and Orange Rivers, (we’re including the Augrabies Falls and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park), Eastern and Western Cape. Here, malaria might be locally transmitted, only occasionally though. You must still take precautionary measures for prevention.

What are the precautions I should take, in both malaria and malaria-free areas?

Some tips are repetitive, yet make for a proper checklist. Following this advice is a good idea, malaria area or not. No one wants to be scratching itchy bites all holiday:

  • Apply insect repellent, lavishly, to exposed skin
  • Close windows and doors at night if they aren’t screened
  • Spray an aerosol insecticide inside where your sleeping area is
  • Burn mosquito coils and mosquito mats
  • Sleep under a mosquito-proof bed net… “Sweet dreams” by the way
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing, trousers, and socks when in the great outdoors

These safari-goers are especially at risk of malaria, so take extra precautions:

  • Kids under 5
  • Adults over 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Those on long-term steroids
  • If receiving chemotherapy
  • People with HIV, porphyria or epilepsy
  • If you’ve had your spleen removed
  • Chronically ill patients

As mentioned above, for a full malaria overview and what precautions you need to take if you’re going into a malaria area, check out our blog, Malaria Made Simple .

Is there a malaria risk when I'm back at home?

A person may still contract malaria even though all precautionary measures have been taken and it may take some time for symptoms to show. If headache, fever, muscular and joint pains, sweating, shivering attacks, nausea, diarrhoea, and fatigue occur after a safari (up to six months after your return), a GP should immediately be consulted. Also, inform the medical staff of your visit to the malaria area to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

The reasons you need to visit South Africa’s malaria-free game reserves

  • You don’t need to worry about taking antimalarials before leaving home, during your safari adventure or on your return.
  • Most of these non-malarial game reserves welcome Junior – even if s/he is of the age where diapers fill the greater half of your suitcase. In fact, these game reserves are geared to cater for kids of all ages. For more on kid’s safaris, see our blog, Great tips on the safety of your family on safari in Africa

Hippo, South Africa

  • You’re still guaranteed to experience the jaw-dropping presence of the Big 5 in their natural habitat (cue Pilanesberg Game Reserve in the North West or Marakele National Park in the Waterberg District).
  • The location of these reserves allows for further exploration of beautiful South Africa.

And then finally, please allow us to exit with a mosquito joke. Feel free to share it around the bush campfire …

A man in a movie theatre notices what looks like a mosquito sitting next to him. "Are you a mosquito?" asked the man, surprised. "Yes." "What are you doing at the movies?" The mosquito replied, "Well, I liked the book."

You’re welcome.

What’re you waiting for? Contact one of our knowledgeable travel consultants and get your dream malaria-free safari in South Africa booked.

Briony Chisholm Wordsmith & Pharmacist

Briony Chisholm

Related Destinations

Explore these destinations mentioned in this post.

Port Elizabeth

Aquila Game Reserve

Garden Route Tours

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

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The best malaria-free safari destinations in Africa

Top malaria free african areas.

There’s no doubt about it – Africa is the world’s best wildlife safari destination. Despite what many overseas visitors may think, Africa’s safari destinations are largely safe and easy to travel around, but the one thing that all visitors need to be cautious of is malaria. The mosquito-borne disease is present in many parts of Africa, and visitors to these places are always advised to take prophylactic medication, as well as to cover up their arms and legs and use repellent. If you want to avoid the malaria risk though, there are some great options for malaria-free safari destinations in Africa.

South Africa is usually the first choice for malaria-free safari destinations, because in most of the country there’s no risk of malaria. Kruger National Park, the country’s largest park, does have a low malaria risk, but there are many more options with just as much wildlife and beautiful scenery.

1. Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

malaria free safari in africa

South Africa’s third largest park is popular with visitors who travel on the Garden Route, a beautiful coastal drive from the southern Cape to the Eastern Cape. Addo is just an hour outside the city of Port Elizabeth, and offers malaria-free game viewing amongst beautiful landscapes. The big draw of the park is its elephant population – around 600 of the pachyderms are resident here – one of the densest elephant populations in Africa.

Travel to Addo Elephant National Park on one of our budget overlanding safaris

2. Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa & Botswana 

hawk-birding-in-africa

A four hour drive from Johannesburg on the border with Botswana, Madikwe is South Africa’s fifth largest game reserve and boasts the Big Five as well as cheetah, wild dog and black rhino and 300 bird species on vast open plains, woodlands and mountains.

Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa 

malaria free safari in africa

This malaria-free reserve, just two and a half hours’ drive from Joburg, is a popular malaria-free choice for budget-conscious travellers, with loads of affordable accommodation options. The park forms part of an extinct volcano and is home to the Big Five, hyena, wild dog and cheetah. While it’s smaller than many of South Africa’s most famous reserves, the wildlife viewing is easy, even for first time safari goers.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa and Botswana

Kgalagadi National Park

If you love desert scenery, the Kgalagadi is the park for you. This spectacularly wild park spans South Africa and Botswana and is home to red sand dunes and vast open spaces – you never get traffic jams like you do in Kruger. While the wildlife isn’t as abundant as it is in other South African parks, the open terrain makes spotting animals such as lions, leopard, cheetah and foxes fairly easy.

Travel to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on our 17-day Best of Namibia Budget Safari Tour

Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, South Africa and Namibia

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Another beautiful desert park, this massive transfrontier reserve stretches along South Africa’s border with Namibia. It may look barren, but if you look a little closer, you’ll find an abundance of fascinatingly adapted flora and fauna, from a third of the world’s succulent species, as well as 50 species of mammals, lizards, tortoises, scorpions and 200 species of birds.

Travel to the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park on our 13-day Cape Town to Windhoek budget overland safari

Etosha National Park, Namibia

malaria free safari in africa

While there is a very low risk of malaria infection during the rainy months of November to June, during the dry months of July to September, there’s no risk of malaria in Namibia’s flagship National Park. The dry months are the best time to go to Etosha anyway, as this is when the park’s water sources dry up and the animals congregate around waterholes, making it incredibly easy to spot them. Just park off your car near a waterhole and wait for the zebras, springbok, giraffe, lions, elephants and rhino to arrive!

Travel to Etosha on one of our Etosha budget overland safaris

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Review: Rockfig Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

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Review: Rockfig Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

Rockfig Lodge

Located in south africa, style & character, service & facilities, food & drink.

The stunning Rockfig Lodge is situated right in the heart of the Madikwe Game Reserve, offering a luxurious and contemporary safari experience. Known for its stunning hilltop location and intimate setting, Rockfig Lodge combines modern amenities with the untamed beauty of the African wilderness. Named after a beautiful Rock fig tree that grows on the magical cliff overlooking Madikwe hills, this exclusive retreat promises an unforgettable adventure where guests can indulge in comfort and explore the rich wildlife of one of South Africa’s premier safari destinations.

Located in the North-West province of South Africa, near the Botswana border, Madikwe Game Reserve is renowned for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes. This malaria-free reserve is easily accessible by road or air, making it a convenient yet secluded destination for safari enthusiasts. Madikwe is known for its large herds of elephants, lions and the successful re-introduction of wild dogs, offering unparalleled game-viewing experiences.

Madikwe Game Reserve Elephants

Rockfig Lodge epitomizes a contemporary safari retreat. The lodge features modern villas that blend seamlessly with the surrounding bushveld, providing a luxurious yet immersive experience. The decor is chic and sophisticated, with each villa uniquely designed to offer a sense of individuality and comfort. The lodge’s elevated position offers spectacular views over the Madikwe plains, creating a serene and picturesque environment.

Madikwe Game Reserve Areal View

The service at Rockfig Lodge is exceptional, with a dedicated team always on hand and committed to exceeding their guests’ expectations. A warm welcome and personalized attention are a hallmark of the lodge, ensuring a tailored and memorable stay. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, and pool deck, all easily accessible from the secluded villas. The lodge also offers private plunge pools, outdoor showers, and panoramic patios, enhancing the luxury safari experience.

The local Rangers are experts and go above and beyond to track down animals for you to view, including lions, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, elephants, leopards, wild dogs, and more.

Madikwe Game Reserve Ranger

Rockfig Lodge boasts four immaculate, self-contained villas, each designed to provide maximum comfort and privacy. The villas can accommodate between 2 to 6 guests, making them ideal for couples, families, or small groups. Each villa features king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and beautifully furnished living rooms. The large patios, complete with bomas for open-air barbecues, offer stunning views and the perfect setting for relaxation. Private splash pools or swimming pools add to the luxurious amenities, ensuring a truly indulgent stay.

Highlights include incredibly comfy beds to ensure a restful night’s sleep after a day of adventure, and the outdoor showers under the stars or in the daylight listening to the birds sing or elephants chattering at the waterhole, it’s no wonder guests return time and time again.

Madikwe Game Reserve Bedroom

Culinary delights are an integral part of the Rockfig Lodge experience. The lodge offers delicious dining options that celebrate local flavors and ingredients. Guests can enjoy gourmet meals prepared by expert chefs, whether in the comfort of their villas or at the lodge’s restaurant. The dining experience is complemented by the breathtaking views and the sounds of the African wilderness, making each meal a memorable event.

Madikwe Game Reserve Pool

Rockfig Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve provides an exceptional safari retreat, combining luxurious accommodation with the untamed beauty of Africa. With its contemporary design, personalized service, and stunning location, Rockfig Lodge ensures an unforgettable experience for all guests. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, Rockfig Lodge offers the perfect setting to indulge your senses and create lasting memories.

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Image courtesy of Rockfig Lodge.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.

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  • Malaria Free Safari Holidays in South Africa

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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By Andre Van Kets

Co-founder, Discover Africa

Malaria free safari holidays in South Africa_Kichaka Game Reserve

Although malaria is a major travel concern in much of Africa, it has a minimal presence in South Africa. Indeed, more than 95% of South Africa, and most of its major attractions, are entirely free of malaria .

There are only two exceptions. The eastern Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, which includes the Kruger National Park and associated private reserves, is classified as moderate risk.

Malaria free safari holidays in South Africa_Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve

Then there is coastal KwaZulu-Natal , north of Richards Bay, which is regarded as low risk and includes iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve.

Transmission in these areas is more or less confined to the rainy summer months. Most other safari destinations in South Africa are malaria-free, notably Madikwe and Pilanesberg Game Reserves and Addo Elephant National Park .

There is also no malaria in other popular areas such as Cape Town, the Cape Winelands , the Garden Route , Durban, the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, and Johannesburg.

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Ghana can eliminate malaria – Dr. Paul Boateng

By Laudia Sawer

Tema, June 24, GNA – Dr. Paul Boateng, the Case Management Focal Person for the National Malaria Elimination Programme, says Ghana can eliminate malaria through behavioural change. 

Dr. Boateng noted that behavioural change and the adoption of a positive attitude against littering of the environment and breeding grounds for mosquitoes would go a long way in achieving a malaria-free Ghana.

He said this when speaking at the celebration of World Malaria Day jointly by the Tema Metro and the Tema West Health Providers Association.

World Malaria Day was observed on the theme: “Health Equity: The Cornerstone for Achieving Malaria Elimination in Ghana.”

He noted that just as China was able to eliminate malaria irrespective of its huge population size, Ghana could draw inspiration from them and do the same, adding that the country was currently under control, bringing the burden down gradually, and then getting to the pre-elimination stage.

“That will take quite a long time. So the decision among all the stakeholders—all the key stakeholders, from WHO to USAID to other ministries—was that the country should be able to work to eliminate malaria as soon as possible,” he stated.

Dr. Boateng indicated that based on that they had taken a number of steps, which include having a lot of stakeholder engagements, as elimination could be achieved as a health sector agenda alone but rather through a multi-sector approach. 

He disclosed that the country’s approach was to work at eliminating malaria first in the areas where it is very low, learn lessons from those areas, and then work to eliminate it across the entire country.

He said the goals of the strategic plan for elimination include eliminating malaria in the 21 districts in the Greater Accra region by 2028 and reducing malaria deaths by 90 percent by 2028.

The Focal Person for the National Malaria Elimination Programme further revealed that they were in the process of developing guidelines for the enhanced malaria death audit, explaining that it would help them treat every malaria death just like a maternal mortality case.

Dr. Vitus Anab-Bisi, the president of the Tema Metro and Tema West Municipal Health Providers Association, said even though World Malaria Day was celebrated on April 25, there were certain aspects of malaria cases and diagnosis management that needed to be highlighted.

Dr. Anab-Bisi, who is also the General Manager, Health Services at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), said the programme helped the health providers look at the malaria data for Tema and others, malaria burden and diagnosis, and issues of testing and treatment.

He added that it was obvious that even though the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Services, and other stakeholders were moving steadily towards the targeted elimination of malaria, more improvement was needed.

TM084-Malaria-Elimination-Pic-21

This Norwegian Cruise sailing takes you on a bucket list adventure: What it's like aboard

malaria free safari in africa

For Kylie Herd, an Australian passenger on Norwegian Dawn’s Feb. 25 southern Africa itinerary, cruising has been the best way to check places off her bucket list.

“I just go with whatever cruise line has the itinerary that I want to do at the time that I’m available. It tends to be Norwegian, and when I saw that Norwegian had all these African cruises, I just thought, ‘I’m going to spend summer in Africa,’ because it’s an amazing itinerary,” she told USA TODAY.

When it comes to cruising, most Americans probably think of bopping around the Caribbean or checking out the wilds of Alaska if they’re feeling especially adventurous, but that’s really just scratching the surface. Cruise lines are increasingly offering diverse itineraries including expedition cruises to remote parts of the globe and introductory sailings to help travelers explore countries and regions they might never visit otherwise.

Madagascar was the real draw for months of consecutive cruises on the Dawn for Herd.

“I’ve been trying to go to Madagascar for years. I always wanted to go there way before the movies ever came out. It’s one of those places that’s really difficult to get to,” she said. “When I saw Madagascar on a cruise itinerary I was like, ‘I have to do it.’ ”

Although the Feb. 25 sailing had to skip Madagascar for logistical reasons after a delay departing Mauritius, Herd said that she was able to visit the country earlier on her trip and that it was a real highlight.

Norwegian’s Africa itineraries had various changes and missed ports throughout the season. Passenger contracts give cruise lines some leeway to alter itineraries on short notice for reasons including weather or conditions on the ground that prevent ships from reaching or being accommodated safely in a scheduled port. Such changes can be especially common in regions prone to political unrest or that lack sophisticated port facilities.

Even so, Herd said she understood why passengers who missed out would be frustrated, but she encouraged her fellow travelers to keep an eye on the positive. “I understand the disappointment. I was disappointed, too, but we’re still having a great time.”

The Feb. 25 cruise still stopped at Reunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, which has an active volcano, as well as ports in South Africa where travelers could spot local wildlife.

Safari from a cruise

Norwegian Dawn stopped at four ports in South Africa, three of which offered safari experiences as shore excursions.

▶ From Richard’s Bay, passengers could visit the iSimangasilo Wetland Park , home to elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, zebras and other classic African big game. The park is about an hour and a half drive from the port, and Norwegian’s shore excursion included two game drives, snorkeling and a traditional South African braai, or barbecue.

Just as cruise itineraries can sometimes be subject to last-minute changes, safaris are at the whim of wild animals. Sightings are not guaranteed, but patience and vigilance are often rewarded.

▶ In Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), Norwegian Dawn’s passengers could visit Addo Elephant National Park, also about an hour and a half drive from the port.

As the name suggests, Addo is home to a huge and docile population of more than 600 elephants. These animals often congregate around watering holes accessible from well-worn safari tracks.

Even after a strong rainfall the night before the excursion, which allowed elephants to retreat into the bush and temporarily lessen their reliance on overtaxed wells, dozens of the creatures greeted visitors coming from the ship for two-hour game drives.

▶ In Mossel Bay, passengers could also access private game reserves, which often have a higher concentration of wildlife roaming free but can include animals that are not directly indigenous to the area.

Cape Town and the winelands

There’s more to Africa than safaris, and Cape Town is an especially good place to experience metropolitan life and other kinds of outdoor activities on the continent.

South Africa’s legislative capital offers excellent hiking, a great foodie culture, beautiful (if slightly chilly) Atlantic beaches, penguins and more.

For travelers willing to explore beyond the city, South Africa’s wine country is close at hand in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, and many vineyards offer tastings and meal experiences. One Norwegian excursion took passengers to the Blaauwklippen wine estate in Stellenbosch, which is best known for its Zinfandel.

Is an Africa cruise worth it?

From a financial standpoint, a cruise around Africa can be an excellent way to explore. For American travelers, however, flights to and from the ship are often more expensive than the cruise itself.

For example, a 13-day Norwegian itinerary that begins in Cape Town on Dec. 7 and ends in Mauritius on Dec. 20 has prices that start at $899 per person for an inside stateroom, but flights can be well over $1,000 round trip. The current cheapest itinerary from Detroit, for example, is a 42-hour slog on multiple airlines via Montreal and Dubai to Cape Town. The return trip is a bit shorter, at 31 hours, also via Dubai and Montreal. That routing would cost $1,694 per person in economy as of March 18, according to Google Flights.

Logistically speaking, though, it can be much easier to book a cruise and rely on the line’s shore excursions to expand one's horizons than to coordinate one's own safari.

“With multiple diverse ports of call within one coastal continental area, our Africa voyages provide our guests the opportunity to explore lush rainforests or volcanoes, experience captivating wildlife tours, learn about the rich culture on the South African coastline, indulge in Cape Town’s incredible wine regions, and so much more,” Brian Gilroy, vice president of revenue management and itinerary planning for Norwegian Cruise Line, said in a statement to USA TODAY.

The one thing to keep in mind is that the African cruise market is less mature than the Caribbean – at many ports, there just aren’t comparable facilities to handle big ships. That doesn’t mean the cruises can’t or don’t happen, just that sometimes the operation is a little less fluid than the well-oiled Miami machine.

“Our 11- and 12-day cruises start and end in either Cape Town, South Africa, or Port Louis, Mauritius, and include an overnight stay in one of those magnificent cities, giving our guests the chance to fully explore what these regions offer. The variety of adventures our guests can experience in these destinations are endless, which makes for a truly unforgettable cruise experience," Gilroy said.

Travelers may be more likely to encounter a hiccup on their Africa cruise, but that’s all part of traveling to a new and exciting place. A missed port or an extra sea day can be a great time time to take stock, focus on the highlights, enjoy the experience of unlocking a new destination, and maybe take another sip of the wine your onboard sommelier recommended.

Just take a page out of Herd the Australian’s book. Despite some schedule changes, she said, “I’ve loved every single thing.”

The reporter on this story received access to this sailing from Norwegian. USA TODAY maintains editorial control of content.  

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter based in New York. You can reach him at [email protected]

Here’s how reducing malaria can add $16 billion to Africa’s GDP every year

The World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters is seen in Geneva.

95% of yearly malaria deaths are in Africa. Image:  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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  • More than 600,000 people die from malaria every year, with 95% of those deaths in Africa.
  • Reducing malaria cases by 90% by 2030 could not only save lives, but also increase Africa’s GDP by $126 billion, according to a new report.
  • Similarly, closing the women’s health gap could enhance the global economy by $1 trillion annually by 2040 , according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum.

Achieving the World Health Organization (WHO) target of reducing malaria by 90% by 2030 would not only avert 600,000 deaths annually, but could also increase Africa’s GDP by $126.9 billion – or $16 billion per year.

This is a key finding in The Malaria ‘Dividend’ report by Malaria No More UK, which is based on analytics from Oxford Economics Africa.

This economic uplift would add $35 billion to Nigeria’s economy – already one of the largest on the continent – and could increase international trade by $80.7 billion by 2030, according to the report.

Have you read?

We are facing a 'perfect storm' on malaria. but renewed efforts can change the weather, malaria vaccines provide new hope in fight against the disease , immunization: how it started, how it's going – what we’ve achieved through 50 years of vaccination programmes.

ESTIMATE INCREASE IN GDP FOR SELECTED “FOCUS” COUNTRIES, 2023-2030

Malaria reduction targets

Currently, the world will not meet the WHO’s target of at least a 90% reduction in case incidence and mortality rates of malaria by 2030. Of the 600,000 people who die from malaria every year, 95% are in Africa – and most are children under five years of age . Meanwhile, adults of working age are affected as they take sick leave to care for their families or themselves, leading to income loss and rising healthcare costs. This all carries a growing economic burden.

Efforts to curb rates of malaria have slowed in recent years due to disruptions from climate change, conflicts, drug and insecticide resistance as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, these factors have helped create a “perfect storm of conditions holding back progress,” the report says.

Key figures at a glance.

Rallying greater support

Prior to this, malaria interventions prevented 2.1 billion cases and 11.7 million deaths between 2000 to 2022, according to the WHO.

“While great progress was made in the first two decades of the century – the global mortality rate for malaria halved between 2000 and 2015, and case incidence fell by 26% – the fight is far from over,” the report explains.

But the target to reduce malaria by 90% by 2030 “could still be met through concerted efforts,” it says. New vaccines , ‘next generation’ bed nets and other “potentially game-changing innovations” will play a key role.

Reducing the economic impact of today’s high malaria rates means countries could improve their broader healthcare prospects, with the report pointing to enhanced diagnostic capacities and healthcare workforces as examples.

Ongoing support to reduce malaria and many other diseases is paramount to strengthening the nexus of health and economic security worldwide, such as the work done by Gavi , the Vaccine Alliance, and The Global Fund .

“In the near term of the next 18 months, the necessity of adequately funding both the Global Fund and Gavi at their upcoming replenishments cannot be overstated,” the report says.

Economic output in GDP of closing the women’s health gap on a global scale

The economics of health

The connection between health and economic security is far-reaching. For example, investments addressing the women’s health gap could enhance the global economy by $1 trillion annually by 2040 , according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the McKinsey Health Institute.

Improving women’s health could help them avoid 24 million life years lost due to disability and provide a $400 billion uplift to the economy, the Forum’s report highlights.

The Global Health and Strategic Outlook 2023 highlighted that there will be an estimated shortage of 10 million healthcare workers worldwide by 2030.

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In the US, diabetes is the most expensive chronic condition at $413 billion per year and Australia’s GDP could be approximately $4 billion per year higher if the health of people in fair or poor health was improved.

The link between health and global wealth is clear, as illustrated by the potential to add $16 billion per year to the GDP of Africa by tackling just one of many preventable diseases.

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The unseen battle: interpreting the 2023 World Malaria Report from Burkina Faso's frontlines

  • Etienne Bilgo 1 , 2  

Malaria Journal volume  23 , Article number:  191 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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The recently released 2023 World Malaria Report sheds light on an alarming reality: despite preventive measures, malaria remains a severe issue in Burkina Faso. As researchers in the field working on malaria in Burkina Faso, the assessment suggests significant underreporting, especially in remote areas with limited healthcare access. In addition, the confusion arising from similar diseases, such as dengue, further complicates the situation. Aligning with the 2023 World Health Organization recommendations, it is time to advocate for tailored strategies in high-burden areas by emphasizing community involvement in data collection awareness campaigns for effective disease management to combat the invisible crisis lurking within communities.

The 2023 World Malaria Report [ 1 ] is a crucial document that evaluates global progress towards malaria control and elimination. Specifically, it spotlights Burkina Faso as one of the high-burden countries, emphasizing the significant challenges it faces in combating this disease and the critical need for increased support and resources. However, the data presented in this report is believed to be underestimated for a few vital reasons.. First, many cases and deaths in remote areas, such as rural Burkina Faso, are hard to record. Second, there is the impact of auto-medication, ongoing conflicts, and crises, which can exacerbate the malaria burden. Third, there is a lack of knowledge of malaria and its prevention among the public, which prevents community-led disease control. In this paper, these realities and their impact on Burkina Faso are discussed compared to the situation reflected in the 2023 World Malaria Report . Personal and recent examples have been provided to highlight the critical situation of the burden of malaria in the country. Additionally, viewpoints on prospective sustainable control measures are offered. These solutions could have a powerful effect and be readily deployed and implemented to impact the disease's future management and control tools substantially.

Globally, an estimated 2.1 billion malaria cases and 11.7 million malaria deaths were averted between 2000 and 2022. Most cases and deaths averted were in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region (cases 82%, deaths 94%) [ 1 ]. About 96% of malaria deaths globally were in 29 countries [ 1 ]. Four countries accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths globally in 2022—Nigeria (31%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%), Niger (6%) and the United Republic of Tanzania (4%) [ 1 ]. In 2022, the 12 High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) countries, which include Burkina Faso, accounted for 67% of all cases and 73% of deaths globally. Since 2018, Burkina Faso and its National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) have followed the HBHI guidelines, which are based on three principles: (1) country-led and country-owned; (2) tailored interventions, moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to adapt interventions to specific needs and local contexts; and (3) a swift reduction in malaria-related deaths through existing tools and prevention methods. The HBHI approach of the WHO is built on four core pillars: political commitment at all levels, strategic use of data for malaria control, enhanced technical and policy guidance, and effective coordination and leadership. It also includes two enabling environments to support these pillars. The two enabling environments are (1) strong health systems with integration of malaria control, and (2) multisectorial action for malaria. However, as indicated in the WHO 2023 report, the malaria burden has not changed much in Burkina Faso and all the other HBHI countries [ 1 ]. In Burkina Faso, since the adoption of HBHI, efforts have focused mainly on mass distribution campaigns, ensuring at least 90% of bed nets are distributed across the country, intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy, and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) for children under five years. However, the WHO annual report still indicates around 12 million cases and approximately 5,000 deaths per year, similar to previous years. Dr. Abdoulaye Diabate, Principal Investigator of Target Malaria Burkina Faso, emphasized during the recent Grand Challenges meeting in Senegal that each statistic reflects a personal tragedy, often hidden from public view, underscoring the need for visibility [ 2 ]. Despite strategies such as insecticide-treated nets and anti-malarial campaigns, high incidence rates persist. The high resistance of mosquitoes to most of the insecticides being used exacerbates the situation. Burkina Faso's response to this crisis focuses on integrating malaria control with community health services and expanding access to preventive therapies for vulnerable groups, aiming to reduce the disease's societal impact.

As a scientist and researcher living in Burkina Faso and accessing remote areas for my fieldwork, my experiences and those colleagues often show a discrepancy in the statistics indicated in the World Malaria Reports. These discrepancies in the statistics indicated in the World Malaria Reports and those reported by the NMCP. The issue is that the case numbers measured by the national surveillance system may be inaccurate, not a flaw in the World Malaria Report. In addition, the WHO acknowledges these challenges and makes its own estimates of malaria cases in the World Malaria Report to account for them, using short modelling incidence on prevalence data from surveys. This results in a discrepancy of 8 million cases [ 1 ]. Interestingly, the modelled estimate is actually less than the reported confirmed case number, a difference worth investigating further, as it suggests there may be counterarguments to the idea that the reported case number is a dramatic underestimate. Healthcare access in these regions is minimal or non-existent, raising questions about how the report accounts for this data. Compounded by political instability, data collection efforts face significant hurdles. Malaria data from Burkina Faso's NMPC is heavily influenced by accessible areas with better healthcare access, leading to a skewed representation. This disparity underscores a critical oversight in accurately portraying the malaria situation within the country, specifically in areas mostly affected. Moreover, the lack of public knowledge about malaria and its transmission, compounded by the confusion from recent COVID-19 and dengue outbreaks, overshadows malaria cases.

Since the 2016 dengue outbreak in Burkina Faso—a disease also transmitted by mosquitoes with similar symptoms to malaria—there has been confusion even among healthcare workers about "palu-dengue," a term coined for what is perceived as a combination of malaria (paludisme in French) and dengue; however, mixed infection is rare, [ 3 ] so it is often one or the other. This has caused complications in disease identification and reporting, which was directly experienced during research conducted in remote rural areas. For example, during a recent entomological survey in rural Zorgho in Burkina Faso, a village chief who was mourning his wife who had succumbed to dengue expressed belief that the research was responsible for spreading the disease. Sadly, this false sentiment and misconception are echoed in urban areas like the capital city, Ouagadougou, and Bobo Dioulasso, where research activities sometimes face unfounded blame for spreading dengue. Even among researchers and health workers, malaria cases are underestimated or misdiagnosed, as exemplified by a recent personal experience. While attending international training in Dakar, Senegal, a feeling of being unwell arose, prompted by the symptoms and the ongoing dengue outbreak in the country recently departed from. Suspicions of contracting dengue emerged, leading to a consultation with a physician colleague who concurred and prescribed medication for dengue. However, improvement was not evident upon returning to Burkina Faso, where a diagnosis of both dengue and malaria was made, an uncommon occurrence. The levels of malaria parasites in the blood were notably high, a situation that can often result in severe disease complications (Supplementary file 1). Another example of the consequences of disease misdiagnosis was highlighted in a letter from the director of Bobo Dioulasso’s main hospital. In his letter, he requested healthcare personnel to pay attention to prescriptions because the misdiagnosis or confusion between malaria and dengue had led to several deaths among his staff and their neighbourhoods. He had also recommended the adoption of antivectorial protective methods. (Supplementary file 2) These two incidents are examples of the dangers of misdiagnosis due to the similarities of symptoms between these two diseases.

The malaria situation is worsening in Burkina Faso due to the increasing practice of self-medication by people without any scientific basis, as well as a leaning towards superstitious practices like scarification on children’s bodies. For me, the reappearance of these practices is a sign of the inadequacy of malaria control tools in delivering effective solutions to families, particularly in remote areas burdened by the relentless impact of malaria. Others have previously described the increase in perceptions and self-medication of malaria in Côte d'Ivoire when conventional prevention tools failed [ 4 ]. Beyond this, it also represents the enduring love of parents; faced with limited options to safeguard their children, they turn to superstitions as a last resort to protect them.

At the joint Laboratory of Medical Entomology and Parasitology at the Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS) and Centre Muraz in Burkina Faso, the research endeavors are fundamentally a calling to aid communities in the battle against vector-borne diseases. At the intersection of vector biology, ecology, and biotechnology, efforts are being made to develop new and complementary solutions to control mosquitoes. New solutions under development, such as Gene Drive Genetic Modified mosquitoes, will likely gain greater acceptance in operational applications [ 5 , 6 , 7 ]. This is because the implementation would require minimal involvement of the affected population, making them more feasible and practical. In addition, Gene Drive Modified Mosquitoes will be a more equitable method because it protects the entire community without making selections between categories of population. For instance, a notable drawback of relying on the current core protection method, bed nets, stems from its close association with population acceptance and proper usage. A similar example of such a method is the use of Genetic Modified (GM) cotton, a technique that cotton farmers widely accepted because they were experiencing the benefits of this GM-Cotton compared to conventional cotton [ 8 , 9 ].

Addressing the malaria crisis within our communities demands a call for enhanced community engagement and a strategic approach to data collection. A thorough analysis of Burkina Faso’s specific challenges in malaria management is crucial. Identifying adequate opportunities or strategies considering the report’s findings is essential. Leveraging the WHO operational strategy, focusing on norms and standards, innovation, strategic information, and leadership, coupled with context-based country support, is vital for a country grappling with the dual burdens of high malaria incidence and low-income status, as seen in Burkina Faso. Detailed operational plans and a results framework aim for greater transparency and accountability.

To transform the narratives surrounding malaria management, realistic statistics from high-burden areas with weaker healthcare systems, such as remote regions of Burkina Faso, must involve the collaboration of local health officials, community leaders, and citizens. Training for leaders in data recording and disease sensitization could significantly contribute to disease prevention efforts. For HBHI countries like Burkina Faso, it is believed that sustainable solutions, especially the rapid adoption of biotechnologies rooted in a profound understanding of the disease, are essential for achieving lasting change.

Availability of data and materials

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Acknowledgements

Sincere gratitude is extended to Mrs. Sabra Saleh from the IMPACT West Africa Fellowship Program for her mentorship, critical reading, and comments during the manuscript's development. Gratitude is also expressed to Dr. Francesco Baldini from the University of Glasgow, UK, for proofreading the manuscript.

This Op-ed was written as part of the activities of the 2023–2024 Niyel-Aspen West Africa Fellowship awarded to Etienne Bilgo. Etienne Bilgo was also supported by Wellcome Trust grant ref218771/Z/19/Z under the NIHR-Wellcome Partnership for Global Health Research. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Wellcome Trust or the NIHR.

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Bilgo, E. The unseen battle: interpreting the 2023 World Malaria Report from Burkina Faso's frontlines. Malar J 23 , 191 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-024-05016-8

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    South Africa is usually the first choice for malaria-free safari destinations, because in most of the country there's no risk of malaria. Kruger National Park, the country's largest park, does have a low malaria risk, but there are many more options with just as much wildlife and beautiful scenery. 1. Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.

  16. Malaria Free Safaris In South Africa & Namibia

    Mhondoro Game Lodge is a luxury lodge situated in the Welgevonden game reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. This is a rich and diverse malaria-free reserve, with an amazing variety of mammals, birds and plant species to be found. Wildlife Couples. 1 - 8 of 8 Hotels. We have selected the most astonishing malaria free safari ...

  17. Malaria-Free Safaris in South Africa

    Recommended reserves, parks and lodges in South Africa where you can enjoy a malaria-free safari and view some of the continent's most iconic wildlife. tel:1-866-606-2960 ... It's also home to two of South Africa's premier game reserves, providing malaria-free Big Five safari experiences. Madikwe Game Reserve.

  18. Shamwari Game Reserve

    Situated on South Africa's pristine Eastern Cape, Shamwari Game Reserve is an excellent safari destination for its fantastic wildlife including all of the legendary "Big 5", with the added advantage of being malaria free. Around 62,000 acres in size, this reserve encompasses five distinct ecosystems and offers six individual accommodation ...

  19. Review: Rockfig Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

    Located in the North-West province of South Africa, near the Botswana border, Madikwe Game Reserve is renowned for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes. This malaria-free reserve is easily accessible by road or air, making it a convenient yet secluded destination for safari enthusiasts.

  20. 11 Best Africa Malaria Free Safaris for 2024/2025

    From $ 6900 /USD. per person per tour. VIEW SAFARI. We offer a wide range of safari tour packages to suit every budget and preference. Whether you're looking for a luxury safari experience or a budget-friendly adventure, we've got you covered. Our safari vacation packages are designed to give you the best possible wildlife viewing experience.

  21. Malaria-free safaris, tours & holidays

    Southern Africa South Africa Cape Town Hermanus Eastern Cape. From $ 6900 /USD. per person per tour. VIEW SAFARI. 4 DAYS. Malaria-Free Big 5 Safari in Madikwe. Southern Africa South Africa Madikwe. From $ 2880 /USD. per person per tour.

  22. Malaria Free Safari Holidays in South Africa

    Most other safari destinations in South Africa are malaria-free, notably Madikwe and Pilanesberg Game Reserves and Addo Elephant National Park. There is also no malaria in other popular areas such as Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, the Garden Route, Durban, the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, and Johannesburg.

  23. Ghana can eliminate malaria

    By Laudia Sawer Tema, June 24, GNA - Dr. Paul Boateng, the Case Management Focal Person for the National Malaria Elimination Programme, says Ghana can eliminate malaria through behavioural change.

  24. An African safari cruise? Onboard a Norwegian ...

    Safari from a cruise. Norwegian Dawn stopped at four ports in South Africa, three of which offered safari experiences as shore excursions. From Richard's Bay, passengers could visit the ...

  25. Malaria Free Game Reserves

    Accommodation in malaria-free game reserves. South Africa has a wonderful range of malaria-free game reserves throughout the country - an important consideration for travellers with young children and for those who have existing health problems. Enjoy an authentic safari experience with complete peace of mind at these properties.

  26. Tackling malaria can boost Africa's GDP by $16bn a year

    More than 600,000 people die from malaria every year, with 95% of those deaths in Africa. Reducing malaria cases by 90% by 2030 could not only save lives, but also increase Africa's GDP by $126 billion, according to a new report. ... Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

  27. The unseen battle: interpreting the 2023 World Malaria Report from

    Globally, an estimated 2.1 billion malaria cases and 11.7 million malaria deaths were averted between 2000 and 2022. Most cases and deaths averted were in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region (cases 82%, deaths 94%) [].About 96% of malaria deaths globally were in 29 countries [].Four countries accounted for just over half of all malaria deaths globally in 2022—Nigeria (31% ...

  28. Tau Game Lodge

    Tuningi Safari Lodge Highlights. A relaxed, family-friendly luxury safari lodge. Featuring 30 African-inspired chalets. With an atmospheric "boma", indulgent day spa and two pools. In an exclusive malaria-free game reserve. Home to all of the "Big 5", wild dog, hippo, giraffe and hyena.