THE TOP MALARIA-FREE SAFARIS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
Mosquitos may be small, but as we discussed in our Secretly Dangerous Animals post, a very few percentage of them carry malaria. This is one of the biggest concerns for many travellers to Africa. However, only a few species carry malaria and of those species not all the mosquitoes transmit it. Malaria is also preventable through antimalarial tablets, using insect repellent and wearing covering clothing.
However, if you’d rather not risk it, the best thing to do is visit a malaria-free area. Here are Pembury’s top five malaria-free safari destinations:
1. Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Because there is no risk of the disease in most of the country, South Africa is usually the first choice when looking for a malaria-free safari destination. Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s biggest game reserves. Home to the Big Five and over 340 bird species, it makes for the perfect safari getaway. Approximately 4 hours from Johannesburg and bordering Botswana, Madikwe is ideally situated between Lowveld bushveld and Kalahari thornveld. As a result, it is home to a diverse range of wildlife species.
Note: Madikwe does not allow self-drive safaris but has many excellent safari lodges conducting two open-vehicle game drives a day.
2. Addo Elephant Park, South Africa
The Eastern Cape is also ideal as a malaria-free safari destination in South Africa. Addo Elephant Park is fantastic if you’re travelling along the Garden Route. Just an hour outside of Port Elizabeth, the reserve is home to over 600 elephants, one of the densest populations in Africa. Addo offers a variety of game viewing options, from horse-back rides to guided walks and self-drive game viewing. It is the ideal budget-friendly safari option.
3. Lalibela Game Reserve, South Africa
Situated also in the Eastern Cape, Lalibela Game Reserve spans five eco-systems making it home to a breathtaking diversity of wild and plant life. Home not only to the Big Five but other animals like cheetah, wildebeest and zebra, visitors can expect fantastic game drives. Lalibela offers five accommodation options catering to a wide-range of travellers. From family-friendly Mark’s Camp to the exclusive, luxurious Mills Manor, there is an African getaway for everyone.
4. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa & Botswana
Spanning South Africa and Botswana, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the ultimate safari experience for desert-lovers. Situated in the Kalahari Desert, the expansive landscape, red sand dunes and camel thorn trees make for a striking game viewing experience. The sparse vegetation means animals are easier to spot as they tend to gather in dry river beds and waterholes. Visitors can opt to stay in luxury game lodges, such as the !Xaus Lodge, or tented camps, such as Kalahari Tented Camp.
Note: driving in the park is not permitted after dark as not all roads are sedan friendly.
5. Etosha National Park, Namibia
The Etosha National Park in northern Namibia is a unique, malaria-free safari destination. Etosha translates to “great white place” or “place of dry water” and the dry season (May to June) is the best time to visit. During this time, rainwater has dried up and the wildlife have to rely on the waterholes for water. As a result, visitors can wtiness long lines of zebra, wildebeest and kudu walk to the waterholes. Lion and leopard wait while antelope drink their share. Accommodation ranges from private villas to tented camps and tree top camps.