Malaria-free Safaris

South Africa is unique in offering several malaria free Game Reserves which are ideal if you have young children, or you cannot take anti-malaria medication.

Overview

South Africa is unique in offering several malaria free game reserves and areas. This is ideal if you have young children. Or if you cannot take anti-malaria medication for any reason.

Madikwe Game Reserve, the Waterberg and the Eastern Cape game reserves all offer the ‘Big Five’ as well as plenty of general game.

The Eastern Cape, the Pilanesberg (another malaria free game reserve) and the Waterberg are also more accessible than the traditional safari areas. This means reduced travelling time, especially important for families with young kids. But the greater accessibility can sometimes translate into less of a ‘safari’ ambience. However this is definitely not the case with Madikwe Game Reserve (in the remote North-west of South Africa). It offers some of the most quintessential savanna plains.

Lets look at these malaria free safari areas in more detail with their plus and minus points.

Madikwe Game Reserve

The 75 000 hectare Madikwe Game Reserve boasts a healthy wildlife population including plenty of predators, elephant, buffalo.  It is especially known for its wild dog sightings though these cannot be guaranteed.

Alongside the Eastern Cape lodges, Madikwe is at the forefront of offering child-friendly safari experiences with many lodges offering a children’s safari programme with special activities and even kiddies game drives for the very young.

Madikwe Game Reserve is pretty remote, about 4 to 4½ hours’ drive from Johannesburg or a one hour charter flight. It offers the most classic ‘African’ terrain of all the non-malaria reserves with open savanna plains and views for miles from its hills. It also has the most consistent game-viewing. But its remoteness may not suit everyone.

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape is the other prime malaria-free safari area in South Africa. The original Addo Elephant National Park has been joined by several private malaria-free game reserves such as Shamwari, Kwandwe, Kariega, Amakhala to name but a few. Its attraction – the accessibility from the Garden Route - can also be a negative. Some lodges are almost too close to civilization. However the lodge locations vary considerably. So this is where using a safari specialist who knows all the camps really makes a difference.

As with Madikwe, the Eastern Cape has a number of family-friendly safari lodges. These vary considerably in nature so chat to us about your preferences. The Eastern Cape game reserves are around 1 to 1½ hours’ drive from Port Elizabeth and about 3-4 hours from the Garden Route.

The Waterberg

The third ''main'' malaria-free safari area is the Waterberg, only 2½ to 3 hours drive from Johannesburg. The Waterberg is a stunning area of natural beauty. This dramatic forested plateau is dissected by ravines and waterfalls with panoramic views over the plains below. The area is home to several private game lodges. Some offer Big Five game viewing and luxurious accommodation. Others offering a more relaxed game-viewing experience without major predators, where you can enjoy horse-riding safaris and walking.

The Waterberg is ideal if you are short of time as it's close to Johannesburg so a 2 night safari is perfectly possible without spending too much time travel there and back. For that reason, it's great to add to another safari destination. It is exceptionally beautiful but the game-viewing is not as consistent as Madikwe or 'the Eastern Cape reserves, especially in terms of predators.

Again there are several discrete parts of the Waterberg so chat to us to make the right choices in terms of camps.

Finally there are two other malaria-free safari areas...
One of our favourite malaria free safaris is at Tswalu Game Reserve in the Kalahari Desert. This offers a superb wild safari experience. But, with charter flights in and out as well as luxurious accommodation, it’s doesn't come cheap. However we think its worth blowing your bonus on….

Alert cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) drinking water, Kalahari desert, South Africa

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is our least favourite. (There, I’ve said it.) It is one of the most accessible reserves, (adjacent to Sun City), And the game-viewing is not as good (compared to other reserves). But if you have young children and you fancy a Sun City visit, then the Pilanesberg can give you a taste of a safari.

Highlights

  • Main Malaria-free reserves: Madikwe, Eastern Cape, Waterberg, Kgalagadi in Northern Cape & Reserves in Western Cape
  • Low malaria-areas (where you dont need to take anti-malaria medication include Mashatu and northern Kwa-Zulu Natal reserves

Would recommend Cedarberg to anyone. Well done!

"Customer friendly, good advice, highly praised by me and other travelers I met on the tour. I would recommend to anyone. Well done! " Mrs Rainbow, UK

Seamless and amazing

"Thank you so much, we have returned and we had the best, best, best time! Thank you so much it was seamless and amazing, I would use Cedarberg again. Thank you Maddy! " Mr Ben Cunningham, USA

Exactly what we wanted

"The services Cedarberg provided was excellent. We had a few hiccups and needed to change the itinerary a couple of times but Cedarberg was very quick to respond to our needs and helped us out very quickly. All the accommodations were excellent and suited us perfectly for what we wanted and doing at that time. " Mrs Kim Swain
 
staff image

Mari Jacobs

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I'm Mari, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

Start planning your dream trip

Find me the best in for

Need a little help? View our Safari Guide to help you get started

Did you know
  • WhereMost of South Africa is malaria-free, exception being the Kruger & far-northern KZN
  • SeasonalMalaria is seasonal in South Africa given the cooler winter climate

Accommodation

View More Accommodations

It was amazing

"Thanks Conrad for your help organizing all of this trip for us, it was amazing – and I’ll be sure to refer you to any future friends of mine wishing to come to Africa. " Mr Ross, Melbourne

We will certainly use Cedarberg again

"All the arrangements worked perfectly – no hiccups at all. We will certainly use Cedarberg again and will recommend the company to others. We were particularly impressed by the fact that the ground agents met us from every flight and saw us on to the next flight so if anything had gone awry there was someone on hand to help us sort it out. As one gets older that is enormously comforting. " Ms Sandra Clark, UK

Everything was brilliant

"Ginny Russell and the Cedarberg team have arranged many trips to Africa for us over the last 25 years. Each holiday has been wonderful and we love planning them with Ginny. When we think Africa & safari we always think Cedarberg. Thanks again Ginny, we are already looking forward to our next safari. Val & Frank " Mrs Val Cummins

Book with confidence

 

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Start planning

How it works

 
Cedarberg talk-to-us
Chat with us about your perfect itinerary
Cedarberg curate
We listen, discuss and curate your ideal experience
Cedarberg pack
You pack and enjoy your holiday

staff image

Natasha Jantjies

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Natasha, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keen to get some more useful info about planning a dream safari? Enter your name and email below

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.