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Malaria-Free Safaris

By Bidvest Bank
For all the amazing things about a South African safari – seeing big game up close, relaxing in the peace of the bush and appreciating beautiful scenery – the one major downside is the risk of contracting malaria. Unfortunately, most of the big South African game reserves are in malaria areas, so you’ll need to take anti-malaria tablets before, during and after your visit. And, you should avoid going altogether if you’re pregnant, elderly, have a weak immune system or are travelling with children under 5. 

Alternatively, you could opt for a safari in a malaria-free area. While you may have to look a little harder to find them, South Africa has several reserves that offer superb game viewing and beautiful scenery but where you’re not at risk of getting malaria. Here are our top choices for the best malaria-free safari experiences in the country:

Addo Elephant Park

Addo Elephant Park is best known for its elephants, and is home to the world’s largest population of these stately, mysterious creatures. Located in the Sundays River Valley in the Eastern Cape and just over an hour’s drive north of Port Elizabeth, the malaria-free park is now South Africa's third largest national reserve. Addo offers visitors sightings of the Big Five, but also of whales and great white sharks since it’s so close to the coast. Wildlife aside, you can choose from a number of adventure activities such as game walks or horseback safaris through the wilderness. 

Shamwari Game Reserve

Located on the banks of the Bushman's River, this private, family-owned game reserve boasts spectacular malaria-free safari game viewing in the lap of luxury, with an exclusive spa, daily game drives, bush walks, and excellent volunteer programmes. As a guest, you’ll be able to enjoy day and night game drives in open-top vehicles with highly knowledgeable rangers. Spend your time between game drives relaxing, swimming and enjoying delicious cuisine, or visiting one of the two “Born Free” big cat sanctuaries. 

Madikwe Game Reserve

Further north, the Madikwe Game Reserve borders Botswana on the edge of the great Kalahari Desert and is home to over 8000 animals. Besides the Big Five, it also has 360 recorded species of birds and a vast variety of plains game. The reserve offers a large choice of accommodation to suit every budget, from self-catering and semi luxury lodges through to top end villas where your every need is catered for.

Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg National Park is situated in the crater of a long extinct volcano in the North West Province adjacent to Sun City. It’s easily accessible from Johannesburg (only a three hour drive) and is malaria-free, yet it’s home to the Big Five so you’ll truly feel that you’re escaping the rat race. The reserve has several accommodation choices including self-catering chalets, luxury lodges and safari tents.

Kariega Game Reserve

Situated along South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route from Cape Town to the Sunshine Coast, the Kariega Game Reserve stretches across 9000 hectares of pristine wilderness in the Eastern Cape Province. The reserve has some of the richest biodiversity in southern Africa along with great game viewing. Because it’s located on the edge of the Kariega and Bushman's Rivers, it’s a lush and scenic reserve with luxurious accommodation to boot. 

Planning a malaria-free safari to South Africa? Order your forex through Bidvest Bank and take advantage of our established presence in South Africa as well as our network of branches nationwide. For even more convenience and added safety, our South African Rand Currency Card lets you preload funds onto your card that you can draw as cash from any VISA ATM, or pay with a simple swipe at any VISA merchant in the country.