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.
Our Africa experts have cherry picked some of their favorite malaria-free safari destinations that give you all of the wildlife without any of the worry:
Located in the northeast of South Africa, Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the country's best places to search for wild dog as they hunt for prey on the beautiful red earth. You're also likely to spot rhino, leopard, lion and elephant. Some of our favorite South African safari lodges are Madikwe Safari Lodge and Little Madikwe Hills. Just a short hop from Johannesburg, it’s easy to combine a safari here with time on the beach or a city break 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, luxury accommodation, excellent game viewing and varied activities. Sip sundowners as you overlook the beautiful Waterberg Escarpment at the end of an exhilarating afternoon. A particular highlight is the chance to explore the Reserve on foot from Marataba Walking Trails in the company of an expert guide who will teach you bush skills as you go.
Waterberg private houses and safari lodge
Malaria-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 favorites are the spectacular Leobo Private Reserve, a truly exclusive, 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 customized bush experience.
Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately-owned game reserve in South Africa, covering over 100,000 hectares of beautiful wilderness. There you enjoy a private guided experience for each of the varied activities, which includes great game viewing, horses for all riding abilities, walking with habituated meerkat colonies, sleep-outs under the stars, and tracking black rhino with bushman guides. For families, this is a truly unforgettable and unique safari experience.
A safari that combines a drive along the Garden Route and a visit to the Eastern Cape reserves gives you the chance to see the Big 5 which makes it perfect for a first time safari. Kwandwe is one of our favorite reserves, with some superb family-friendly safari options including Ecca Lodge. Melton Manor is you plenty of child-focused wildlife activities for all age groups as well as some great game viewing for grown ups. Combine traditional game drives with activities like making plaster casts of animal footprints, and visits to wildlife orphanages to bring your children’s vacation to life!
The chalky white pan of Etosha in northern Namibia offers a dramatic backdrop for game viewing. It's a great place for a self-drive safari which gives you the freedom to do what you want, when you want. The pan’s southern edge is lined with waterholes which are a magnet for wildlife and subsequently great spots to sit and wait to see what might pop down to drink. Your patience will often be rewarded with the sight of thousands of zebra or, if you're lucky, an elephant or two. 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 packed 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. Witnessing the way wildlife ekes out an existence in this stark environment is a thrilling angle to your safari which combines brilliantly with time in Etosha National Park.
Safari and beach combinations
Aside from South Africa’s lovely beaches, it's also possible to add on some malaria-free beach time in the Indian Ocean pre- or post-safari. The best options to consider, which are within easy reach of most of Southern and East Africa, are Mauritius or the Seychelles. Quite different from each other, both destinations give you a wonderful white sand experience, warm turquoise waters, and an array of watersports. Mauritius is popular with families due to its many child-friendly hotels, kids clubs, and adventure activities for teens, but there are also some incredibly romantic hotels that make an idyllic retreat for honeymooners and couples. The Seychelles is more of a couple’s destination and gives you the option to island-hop or explore gorgeous private islands after your busy safari adventures.