Malaria free safari
Mozzies are a nuisance. But in a malaria-area they can be more than that – a serious health threat for travellers. Avoid the worry at the following malaria-free safari destinations in South Africa.
Transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, malaria is the major medical factor to take into consideration when booking a wildlife safari to South Africa, especially during and just after periods of rain. Although malaria can be easily prevented with medication, some travellers prefer to steer clear of malaria-areas, just to be safe. While malaria is present in some popular safari destinations in South Africa, there are enough malaria-free Big 5 areas to keep everyone happy.
Here follow 5 areas that are great to visit and see the Big 5 without having to worry about malaria:
Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe Private Game Reserve, nestled on the border between South Africa and Botswana, is a lesser known gem that is completely malaria-free. Extending 76,000 hectares, this wild and remote paradise is one of the largest reserves in South Africa and is home to the Big 5 plus a thriving population of the endangered wild dog and other sought-after species such as cheetah and brown hyena. Bird-watchers will enjoy about 360 species in this dry Kalahari ecosystem. Madikwe is an easy 4 hours drive from Johannesburg or about 1 hour flight.
Often described as a best kept secret, the Waterberg district is just a 3-hour drive from Johannesburg, making it one of the most accessible malaria-free safari destinations in South Africa. Stretching over 150,000 hectares, the area is known for its rugged mountain landscapes, rich tapestry of varied habitats and for private game reserves that offer the Big 5.
In addition to this, Waterberg is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and considered one of South Africa’s most significant archaeological and palaeontological sites for its 3-million-year-old humanoid fossils that have been discovered there, as well as the ancient rock formations and thousand-year-old San rock art sites. Despite its proximity to the urban hub of Johannesburg – 3 hours by car, the Waterberg has the ability to make you feel worlds away.
Eastern Cape – Garden Route
The Eastern cape offers malaria free game-viewing and stunning scenery. The temperate climate and gently undulating hills lend themselves to game viewing. With fewer trees obscuring sightings, no malaria, and better vantage points, it is easy to see why. There is a choice of game lodges to suit everyone from honeymoon couples to families.
points, it is easy to see why. There is a choice of game lodges to suit everyone from honeymoon couples to families. The Eastern Cape is often combined with the Garden Route as you simply continue east from the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth and the malaria-free game reserves beyond. (It is approx 3½ hours drive from Plettenberg Bay to the Eastern Cape game lodges).
KwaZulu Natal is the widest expanse of untouched savanna in South Africa, and its only fitting that it would be home to some of the most prestigious game reserves too. A combination of coastal and inland beauty KwaZulu Natal has all the charm of an African adventure.
There are plenty of places to spot the infamous African Big Five as well as discover bird species that you won’t get the chance to see anywhere else. Private Game reserves such as Phinda and Thanda will captivate your wild side and rekindle a sense of adventure in you.
Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve will provide visitors to the shores of Durban with unrivaled Big Five viewing. In particular, this game reserve is famous for its white rhino conservation. It is at many of the game reserves in KwaZulu Natal that you will be able to encounter large numbers of rhino. The protection of these animals is of the utmost importance at these parks.
While Hluhluwe is the oldest game reserve in South Africa, Thanda and Phinda are among the most exclusive. These lodges ensure that guests enjoy a truly African holiday with a side order of utmost luxury and refinement. Combining one of these amazing lodges with a stay at a nearby coastal resort makes this a perfect destination to combine the beauty of te Indian Ocean together with a world-class safari.
The Northern Cape Province in South Africa is the gateway to the Kalahari Desert, which stretches into Namibia and Botswana. The Kalahari is the world largest desert. The Kalahari is characterised by rich, red sand dunes and is well vegetated with shrubs, patches of trees and even some grasslands.
This is where the legendary San Bushmen have lived for 30 000 years. Their legacy of rock art and engravings translate their past lives, but only a small population of the San are left to continue that nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
The Kalahari sands of the Northern Cape are transformed by the mighty Orange River, which brings life to South Africa’s hottest, driest area. Along its banks, vineyards thrive and soft fruits like peaches and apricots grow abundandantly. As the river approaches the Augrabies Falls, it divides itself into numerous channels before cascading down the 56 meter high waterfall. The sight and sound of the power of the water will not be easily forgotten.
The sprawling 100 000ha Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is one of the largest private game reserves in Africa. Once an overgrazed farm and hunting ranch, Tswalu has since been transformed by its owners, into a model of sustainable tourism and local empowerment, making it an extraordinary community-based conservation success story.
And that’s before its wildlife and natural beauty. Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is malaria-free and boasts the full range of Kalahari species including lion, black rhino (a third of South Africa’s population) and cheetah, as well as classic African mammals such as buffalo, sable and roan antelope. Birdwatchers won’t be disappointed either, with 230 species.
This stark yet beautiful desert region is a textured terrain of vast open savannah, sandy dunes and diverse habitats. Tswalu meaning ‘great thirst’ or ‘waterless place’, it is home to an incredible wildlife population including zebra, giraffe, oryx, eland, as well as white rhino and the desert black rhino. The reserve is also inhabited by smaller mammals such as the pangolin, aardvark and African wild cats.
Offering exceptional opportunities for viewing cheetah, the massive lions of the Kalahari are well known for their stunning black manes. With a vision to ‘restore the Kalahari to itself,’ protection and conservation of this magnificent copper and gold landscape, and its endemic wildlife, is paramount. The Kalahari offers unique safari experiences set against broad expanses of pristine semi-arid grassland, rugged dunes, and towering Korannaberg Mountains