November 3

South Africa’s Best Places For A Malaria-Free Safari


November 3, 2021

There are plenty of malaria-free safari destinations to choose from where you can enjoy a Big 5 safari in the African bush without making any sacrifices in terms of your safari experience or the quality of the accommodation. You’ll even find a diversity of species and landscapes that differ from those in the more popular traditional safari destinations. To help you choose, we’ve put together our favourite spots for a malaria-free safari in South Africa!

Garden Route

A Rota Jardim é o lar de alguns dos leões machos mais magníficos da África
The Garden Route offers excellent Big 5 safari experiences. Image Credit: Brad Mitchell

The Garden Route is home to several private game reserves that offer something different to the usual safari. Apart from the benefit of a malaria-free safari experience, the close proximity to Cape Town makes it an easy choice for those looking to squeeze in a safari on their trip to the coast. Expert guides and the exclusivity of these lodges ensure that your sightings are intimate and memorable. The vastly different scenery and spectacular mountainous backdrops set the scene for sensational game viewing that thrills and delights guests.

Our Favourite Places:

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

malaria-free safari at Kwandwe.
Kwandwe promises excellent wildlife sightings. Image Credit: Kwandwe.

Kwandwe’s unique environments flank both the northern and southern banks of the Great Fish River. The Indian Ocean’s breeze turns south-facing slopes into dense forest-like thickets of Euphorbia trees. While the north-facing slopes span out into the bushveld, creating two vastly different ecosystems.

Early morning and late afternoon/evening game drives allow visitors to view different animals’ habits. Cool mornings reveal grazing game while the late afternoon ushers animals to the river banks to quench their thirst. Nightfall showcases the reserve’s nocturnal residents: including special species such as the aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox and porcupine.

Gondwana Game Reserve

Personen auf einer Pirschfahrt im Gondwana Game Reserve beobachten eine Giraffe - Safari-Lodges entlang der Garden Route
Gondwana Game Reserve is the perfect destination for a Garen Route safari. Image Credit: Gondwana Game Reserve

Gondwana Game Reserve is perched on the pristine, malaria-free wilderness of the lush, emerald hills of the Garden Route and is barely a four-hour drive out of Cape Town. Keep your eyes on the horizon and expect to see a wide variety of wildlife roaming expansive plains punctuated by the unique beauty of fynbos vegetation.

Gondwana is home to many different animals. Game drives may yield sightings of giraffe, hippo, zebra, cheetah, antelope species and if you’re lucky, black rhino. Boasting a wide range of accommodation options, from private chalets, sprawling villas and even luxury tented camps on the Pioneer Trail slackpacking adventure, this gem of the Garden Route has it all.



Jamala Madikwe
Sunset game drive at Jamala Madikwe. Image Credit: Jamala Madikwe.

One of South Africa’s premier malaria-free safari destinations is undoubtedly Madikwe. Home to the Big 5, an assortment of game and over 360 bird species, it is a wildlife lover’s paradise. Conveniently located just a few hours from Johannesburg it is the perfect place to get a taste of the wild. Madikwe is uniquely poised in the transition zone where the bushveld begins to blend into the Kalahari desert and several rare species occur here naturally.

Our Favourite Places:

Jamala Madikwe

Safari-goers on a malaria-free safari in Madikwe
Jamala Madikwe delivers magical moments in abundance. Image Credit: Jamala Madikwe

Jamala Madikwe is an exceptional safari lodge situated in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. Excellence is evident in every aspect of Jamala Madikwe, from the excitement of the safari guides and staff to the classy and elegant décor. Experienced guides will accompany you on morning and evening game drives, imparting their knowledge of the surrounding wilderness and its many inhabitants. From the Big 5 to over 300 species of bird, be prepared for a fantastic safari experience.

Tuningi Safari Lodge

Tuningi Safari Lodge is the perfect place for exclusive wildlife experiences with loved ones. Image Credit: Tuningi Safari Lodge

If you want to treat your family to an ultimate South African safari without roughing it too much, Tuningi Safari Lodge should top your list. Slip into one of the luxury suites, that are limited to a maximum of 16 guests in total. If ultimate exclusivity is what you’re after, then there is no better choice. The Little Tuningi private camp is a secluded refuge with its own private plunge pool and boma, ideal for small groups or families.


Rhinocéros au KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal is famous for it’s rhino populations and conservation focus. Image Credit: & BeyondPhinda

Found in northern KwaZulu-Natal, bordering on the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, is Phinda Game Reserve. While not strictly a malaria-free area, the reserve is a very low-risk destination with very few cases being reported in the region. Made up of no less than seven distinct habitats, the reserve hosts an abundant variety of wildlife, including the Big 5. The region’s famous white rhinos wallow near watering holes while herds of elephants and buffalo make their way across the plains. Predatory cats relax in the shade or stalk nyala and impala as they browse. Experience the thrill of tracking these animals on foot as your Zulu trackers point out interesting indigenous trees and shrubs.

Our Favourite Lodges:

Phinda Vlei Lodge

Une des suites du &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
The suites at & Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge promise ultimate luxury. Image Credit: & Beyond Phinda

If the idea of watching a real-life wildlife documentary from the comfort of a private plunge pool sounds appealing to you, head to &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge. With six suites each with a private deck and the wilderness as its garden, this intimate lodge allows guests to witness wildlife against the backdrop of the African bush.

The lodge’s setting on the outskirts of a wetland allows close-up views of the wildlife. Highlights include twice-daily game drives, rhino-tracking walks, and riverboat cruises along the Mzinene River. Guests can expect encounters with lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffalo, and leopards on a visit.



El Parque Nacional Marakele es un destino perfecto para ver al os "Cinco grandes" en un safari libre de malaria
Marakele National Park is a perfect malaria-free destination to see the “Big Five”. Image Credit: Marakele.

Discover the exceptional diversity of flora and fauna within the Marakele National Park. Set in the malaria-free heart of Limpopo’s Waterberg Mountains it hosts some fascinating endangered species. Home to the largest population of Cape Vultures in the world and both black and white rhino, it offers something special for wildlife enthusiasts. With a host of activities (many of them family-friendly) such as bush walks and game drives, immersive experiences are a key component of this tranquil region.

Our Favourite Lodges:


Marataba is a sanctuary for more than just wildlife. Image Credit: Marataba.

A four-hour drive from Johannesburg, Marataba offers guests a Big 5 experience in a spectacular setting alongside the Waterberg Mountains. This malaria-free reserve boasts a plethora of wildlife with the added attractions of sundowner boat rides and regular leopard sightings. A special feature of Marataba is an evening boat trip on the Matlabas River where they can enjoy sundowners and views of the Waterberg.

Come Enjoy A Malaria-Free Safari in South Africa

A South African safari awaits you. Image Credit: Lauren Coape-Arnold

South Africa has a host of safari options suitable for every traveller. Whether you are avoiding malaria areas, seeking out special species or simply sticking to a region of the country there’s a safari for you. Each and every one promises to delight you in different ways and set a burning passion for Africa ablaze in your heart. Get in touch with one of our Rhino Africa Travel Experts to plan your malaria-free safari today!

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About the author 

Brad Mitchell

With a deep-set love of the outdoors and making moments count in all aspects of life, nothing makes Brad happier than taking in sunrises and sunsets. He can often be found either running, surfing or playing sports somewhere in Cape Town. Having grown up a stone's throw from Kruger, Brad jumped at the chance to live in the Cape and has never looked back since! With a background in all things Marketing, he is driven by creativity and turning crazy ideas into real-life actions!

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