Malaria Free Safari Options

We are often approached by couples and families wanting to go on safari in Africa who don’t want to be explosed to the risk of malaria. This rules out much of Africa’s mainstream family safari destinations, with the exception of South Africa, where there are plenty of malaria-free safari options offering excellent game viewing experiences. Of course, nowhere is entirely risk-free and no matter where you travel to, you should always take precautions against being bitten and seek medical advice before you travel.  This NHS website offers some useful guidance and also maps of the affected areas:

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Here are some of our favourite tried and tested malaria-free game reserves in South Africa:

Madikwe Game Reserve

Located in the North West of South Africa close to the border with Botswana, Madikwe is an excellent malaria-free safari destination for families. Covering over 75,000 hectares, Madikwe is home to over 66 animal species, including the Big 5, and is home to the elusive wild dog, rarely spotted in Southern Africa.  Whilst it is still nowhere near as well-known as Kruger, Madikwe has become known as a child-friendly game reserve and several of the lodges specialise in accommodation families and actively welcome younger guests. No day visitors or self-drivers are allowed into the reserve, so the reserve does not get too congested. Madikwe is an easy 4-5 hour drive from Johannesburg, or a short flight from Johannesburg. Many people combine Madikwe with a Garden Route holiday, or with Waterberg (see below)  Our favourite accommodation options in Madikwe are Jaci’s Lodge and Impodimo, both of which offer luxurious accommodation in stunning surroundings.

DSC06060At Madikwe, we were lucky enough to spot a pack of African Wild dogs, a rare sight.

Recommended Itineraries featuring Madikwe:

Two week family holiday including some of the best family friendly lodges in South Africa & Malaria free safari in Madikwe

Tailor-made Luxury 12 days

Families from $3,516 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,229 per person economy class from London

Eastern Cape

Lying to the East of the Garden Route are a number of malaria-free game reserves, including Addo National Park, as well as several private options. At 180,000 hectare, Addo is certainly the area’s largest game park and is a draw card on account of its large elephant population. However, self-drivers are also allowed in the park, so it can become congested. Private concessions, such as Riverbend Lodge (14,000 ha) and Amakhala (7,000 ha) offer upmarket safari options with exclusive lodges and private game drives. The landscape here is fynbos and lower lying grasslands which is different to the denser bush to be found up in other safari destinations in South Africa. However, if you are travelling with younger children this can be an advantage as game is easier to spot. Most people combine the Eastern Cape game lodges with a Garden Route holiday.

Riverbend LodgeStopping for early morning refreshments at Riverbend

Classic Garden Route holiday including our trademark Cape Town experience, E Cape Safari and Coast.

Tailor-made 2 weeks

Families from $2,553 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,004 per person economy class from London

Self drive exploration of Cape Town, Garden Route and Safari experience in private reserve.

Tailor-made Luxury 13 days

Adults from $2,625 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,066 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,933 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,066 per person economy class from London

Waterberg

Two and a half hours to the north of Johannesburg lie the Waterberg mountains, a stunning biosphere home to a plethora of flora and fauna.  There are several large-scale land owners in the area who farm, but there is also the stunning Ant’s Hill who specialise in horse riding safaris. Because of their focus on riding, they don’t have predators, so not quite the Big 5, but they do have giraffe, rhino, buffalo and over 40 species of game. If you are not an avid horse rider, it doesn’t matter, as there are horses to suit all abilities. For resolute non-riders, game drives and bush walks are also on offer. Accommodation is in boutique bush cottages with outstanding views. Some people visit Waterberg in isolation, others choose to combine it with Madikwe so they can have a mixture of activities and more traditional safaris. Waterberg is an easy drive from Johannesburg and about 4 – 5 hours from Madikwe.

DSC05860Spotting a rhino on horseback was a real highlight of our trip

Recommended Itineraries featuring Waterberg:

Two week family holiday including some of the best family friendly lodges in South Africa & Malaria free safari in Madikwe

Tailor-made Luxury 12 days

Families from $3,516 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,229 per person economy class from London

Hluhluwe, Kwa Zulu Natal

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Located in the East of the country in Kwa Zulu Natal, Hluhluwe is South Africa's oldest National Park and is surrounded by several superb private concessions, including Thanda and Phinda. The region hosts big 5 as well as many other species of flora and fauna. The terrain is hilly, with mountains forming an pretty backdrop to the views. Phinda is the best option but also the most expensiv. Thanda has fantastic family suites with private plunge pool and Rhino River Lodge and Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge both offer arguably the best value safari experience in Africa. Safari in this region combines well with time on the Coast, exploring the iSimangaliso wetlands, Kosi Bay and the Drakensberg Mountains.

Thanda poolEach villa has a private heated plunge pool with gorgeous views.

Recommended Itineraries in Hluhluwe are:

Fantastic value safari & beach combination in KwaZulu-Natal. Enjoy big 5 safari and relaxed beach time.

Tailor-made Classic 8 days

Adults from $1,508 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,004 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,137 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,004 per person economy class from London

Combine superb big five safari at Thanda Lodge, then relax amidst the luxury of Thonga Beach Lodge.

Tailor-made Luxury 10 days

Adults from $3,928 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,066 per person economy class from London

Families from $3,301 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,066 per person economy class from London

Big five safari in the renowned Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park, kayaking and wildlife in the magnificent iSimangaliso Wetland Park and luxury beach relaxation at the Oyster Box Hotel

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Adults from $3,472 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,066 per person economy class from London

Families from $3,139 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,066 per person economy class from London

Suggested Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

The Classic Garden Route with a twist, using our favourite one-off owner operated B&Bs and Self Catering. Book early as availability is limited.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Families from $1,297 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,066 per person economy class from London

Classic Garden Route holiday including our trademark Cape Town experience, E Cape Safari and Coast.

Tailor-made 2 weeks

Families from $2,553 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,004 per person economy class from London

Two week family holiday including some of the best family friendly lodges in South Africa & Malaria free safari in Madikwe

Tailor-made Luxury 12 days

Families from $3,516 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,229 per person economy class from London

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