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Malaria-free travel: Visit one of South Africa’s top five safari destinations

With interprovincial travel now open, you can head into the wild for a safari holiday. South Africa has a wealth of incredible national parks and game reserves that you can visit without worrying about malaria.


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With interprovincial travel now open, you can head into the wild for a safari holiday. One of the continent’s top safari destinations, South Africa has a wealth of incredible national parks and game reserves known the world over for unrivalled big game viewing and luxurious accommodation, all without the worry of malaria.

While most people tend to head to the Kruger National Park, the country’s largest and best known game reserve (which is unfortunately in the malaria-zone), there is a range of excellent game reserves and parks in malaria-free zones that offer superb game-viewing, beautiful scenery and a minimal risk of malaria.

Malaria-free safaris are an excellent option if you are travelling with children, are elderly, pregnant, or in any way unable to take anti-malaria medication.

The top five South African malaria-free safaris

Addo Elephant Park

Home to the largest population of African elephant on earth, Addo Elephant Park is a must if you want to see these majestic creatures in their natural environment.

Located in the malaria-free Sundays River Valley in the Eastern Cape and just over an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, this fantastic park is now South Africa’s third largest national reserve.

Situated just north of Port Elizabeth and soon to be one of the largest national parks in South Africa, the Addo Elephant Park offers visitors not only the big five, but sightings of whales and great white sharks as well and a number of exciting activities to boot, such as horse-back safaris through the wilderness.

Shamwari Game Reserve

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The Shamwari Game Reserve on the Bushman’s River is a private, family-owned game reserve, which promises the chance to see the big five in the lap of luxury with an exclusive spa, daily game drives, bush walks, and excellent volunteer programmes.

The reserve offers unsurpassed game viewing, and guests can enjoy day and night game drives in modern open-top vehicles that have been especially converted for comfort and unfettered views.

Personal game rangers provide insightful and valuable information about the fauna and flora and in between game drives, time is filled with relaxing, reading, spa treatments, swimming, enjoying delicious cuisine, game walks, or a visit to one of the two “Born Free” big cat sanctuaries. 

Malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve

Further north, the Madikwe Game Reserve borders Botswana on the edge of the great Kalahari Desert and is home to over 8,000 animals, including the big five. It is also home to over 360 species of birds and a vast variety of plains game.

The reserve offers an array of accommodation to suit every budget, including Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe River Lodge, and Madikwe Hills.

Pilanesberg National Park

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Pilanesberg National Park is a beautiful reserve centred around a large hippo- and croc-filled lake and set right next door to the famous Sun City.

Easily accessible from Johannesburg (a three to four-hour drive), the National Park is situated in the ecologically-rich transition zone between the Kalahari and the Lowveld and is home to an incredible variety of game animals and native flora and fauna, many of which are not often found living side by side.

Kariega Game Reserve

Situated along South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route from Cape Town to the Sunshine Coast, Kariega Game Reserve is the perfect malaria-free safari destination for those wanting a unique safari experience.

Family-owned and operated, the private game reserve stretches across 9,000 hectares of pristine wilderness in the Eastern Cape Province and is bisected by the Kariega and Bushman’s Rivers.

The area is also home to some of the most abundant and diverse fauna and flora. Incorporating luxurious accommodation, spectacular vistas, and magnificent big five game viewing, Kariega Game Reserve offers the ultimate in authentic African safari holidays without the worry of malaria.