From the Eastern Cape reserves in South Africa to beautiful Etosha National Park in Namibia, you have plenty of choices for a wildlife-packed malaria-free safari with plenty of activities for all ages.
Here are a few of our favourite malaria-free destinations hand-picked by our Africa specialists to give you all the wildlife without any of the hassle:
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Located in the northeast of the country, the Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s best places to search for wild dog, hunting their prey on this beautiful red earth reserve. You’ll find plenty of wildlife here including rhino, leopard, lion and elephant, and some of our favourite South African safari lodges are in the Madikwe, including Madikwe Safari Lodge and Little Madikwe Hills. Just a short hop from Johannesburg, it’s easy to combine your safari here with time on the beach or some time in Cape Town.
Marakele National Park
Home to Marataba Safari Lodge and Marataba Walking Trails, this beautiful reserve is great for honeymooners, couples and families wanting to combine dramatic scenery, luxurious accommodation and excellent game-viewing and varied activities. Enjoy sundowners overlooking the beautiful Waterberg Escarpment at the end of an exhilarating afternoon game-drive. Exploring the reserve on foot from Marataba Walking Trails is a real highlight, accompanied by expert guides who can help you interpret the signs of the bush.
The Waterberg Private Houses and safari lodge
The malarial free Waterberg is home to a wide variety of safari experiences, but for larger groups or extended families it provides some excellent accommodation options. Two of our favourites are the spectacular Leobo Private Reserve, a truly exclusive and luxurious playground with an array of mind-blowing activities for all ages. Jembisa Bush Home is a popular choice and regularly welcomes repeat guests year after year. This bush home has a colonial safari atmosphere with excellent staff and guides providing a flexible and totally tailor-made bush experience.
Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa, covering over 100,000 hectares of beautiful wilderness reserve. All guests at Tswalu enjoy a private guided experience to truly get the most out of the wealth of activities: great game-viewing, horses for all levels of riding availability, walking with habituated meerkat colonies, sleep-outs under the stars and tracking black rhino with the bushman guides. For families, this is a truly unforgettable and unique safari experience.
Eastern Cape reserves, South Africa
An ideal combination with a drive along the Garden Route, the Eastern Cape Reserves offer a Big Five safari experience and is a great option for your first safari. Kwandwe is one of our favourite reserves, with some superb family-friendly safari options including Ecca Lodge and Melton Manor, which offer child-focussed wildlife activities for children of all ages, as well as some great game-viewing for Mum and Dad. Combine traditional game-drives with making plaster casts of footprints and visits to animal orphanages to bring your children’s holiday to life!
Etosha National Park, Namibia
The chalky white pan of Etosha in Northern Namibia offers a dramatic backdrop for your game-viewing, as well as the option to self-drive on safari through the park for the ultimate independent adventure. The pan’s southern edge is lined with waterholes which are a magnet for wildlife, and your safari focusses on these, sometimes waiting patiently to see what might come down to drink, and often rewarded with sightings of thousands of zebra, or if you’re lucky, a herd of elephant. The Ongava Reserve which borders the park also offers high concentrations of wildlife and activities including tracking black rhino.
One of Namibia’s lesser known gems, Damaraland is an arid, mountainous region with desert-adapted wildlife including elephant, rhino and lion. Watch elephants dig down through the sand of a dry riverbed to find water, or track rhinos on foot from Desert Rhino Camp with researchers from the Save the Rhino Trust. Seeing wildlife eking out an existence in this stark environment is a thrilling addition to your safari, and combines brilliantly with time in Etosha National Park.
Safari and beach combinations
Aside from South Africa’s lovely beaches, it is also possible to add on some malaria-free beach time in the Indian Ocean after your safari. The best options to look at, within easy reach of most of Southern and East Africa, are Mauritius or the Seychelles. The two destinations are quite different although each offers a wonderful white-sand experience, warm Indian Ocean waters to swim in, and an array of watersports to try out. Mauritius is a popular choice for families, with many child-friendly hotels, kids clubs, and adventure activities for teens including hiking and zipwiring, although there are some superbly romantic hotels offering an idyllic retreat for honeymooners and couples. The Seychelles is more of a couple’s destination, and offers the option to island-hop as well as some simply gorgeous private islands to relax upon after your safari adventures.